Virginia Tech hosted the second-annual cyber security summit and competition, attracting teams from Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, the US Naval Academy, James Madison University, and the Marshall Academy.
During the competition, nine student teams faced off in their efforts to identify and exploit security flaws in 25 computer systems, crack a collection of encrypted passwords, and perform a forensic analysis on a compromised computer system. Fueled by energy drinks, pizza, and the soundtracks from 1990s computer security movies, students competed for seven hours.
The events were conducted under the rules of the events of the US Cyber Challenge, a national coalition of public-private sector entities collaborating to enhance the workforce with the next generation of cyber security professionals through skill development activities, mentoring, and resources, and the facilitation of scholarship, internship, and employment opportunities.
“Events like these provide a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate their information security savvy in an environment that supports constructive learning,” said Charles Clancy, Virginia Tech professor and faculty advisor to the Virginia Tech team. “Student clubs and competitions are one of the key building blocks in promoting a broad ecosystem of cyber security education that includes activities outside the classroom.
The event was organized and hosted by students from the Virginia Tech Information Technology Security Lab and the Virginia Tech cyber security club, and had over 60 attendees. The event was sponsored by BIT Systems, L-3 Communications, and the SANS Institute.
The summit was held at Virginia Tech’s new research center in Arlington, Va., and featured a morning of speakers, followed by an afternoon competition where teams faced off in efforts to attack and defend computer networks.
Keynote speaker Neal Ziring, the technical director for information assurance at the National Security Agency, stressed the workforce development needs of the cybersecurity community and the key challenges faced in securing technology against emerging threats.
The University of Maryland took the top spot in the competition. Runners up included Virginia Tech and the US Naval Academy. The high-school team, Marshall Academy, who recently won seventh place in the nation-wide Cyber Patriot competition, “performed surprisingly well against the collegiate teams,” Clancy said.