Five students, accompanied by Dr. Angeliki Zavou, assistant professor of computer science, attended the BlackHat and DefCon conferences in Las Vegas August 4 – 11, thanks to scholarships from Facebook.
The merit-based travel scholarships were awarded to computer science students Daulet Diyarov ‘22, Danny Fidalgo Pires ’22, and George Osterweil ’20, biology major Neil Hendricks ’19, and graduate computer science student Michael Cheng ’18. Undergraduate students were selected based on their performance in the 2017-2018 Cybersecurity for Everyone course, developed by codepath.org and sponsored by Facebook. Cheng and Osterweil were awarded scholarships because they served as teaching assistants during the fall and spring semesters.
“The experience and connections I gained from attending these two events are invaluable,” Diyarov said. “It showed me how many people are concerned about digital security and how much more I still have to learn.”
Black Hat USA is one of the world’s leading information security events addressing the latest cybersecurity research, development and trends. Students had the opportunity to network and discuss career opportunities with more than 17,000 representatives from top security solution companies.
DefCon, the biggest national hacker convention, attracts tens of thousands of attendees every year. This year, the conference featured 28 “hacker villages” where students could test their cyber skills by hacking cars, voting machines, mobile devices, drones and pacemakers. There were also several capture-the-flag (CTF) style contests and Hacker Jeopardy, a cybersecurity game show.
“There couldn’t be a more ideal venue for our students,” Dr. Zavou said. “They had the opportunity to mingle and see in action the best of the best in the security field, people with the tools and the knowledge to break into just about any system imaginable.”
Facebook Security offered scholarships to more than 65 students, university professors and veterans as part of their Cybersecurity University Program which is designed to engage and provide professional development opportunities to current and future security professionals.