Students Score High in Cybersecurity Competition

Three computer science students scored in the top 15 percent of cybersecurity teams worldwide competing at Defcon Quals – the oldest Capture the Flag (CTF) competition for cybersecurity professionals.

George Osterweil, ‘20, Kelly Rose ‘20, and James Cavanaugh ’20
scored 151 out of 1262 teams.

“The Defcon Quals were extremely challenging,” Osterweil
said.  “Not only did it require advanced
technical expertise, but we were racing against the clock competing with other
highly skilled teams. The experience definitely gave me a better idea of where
I need to build my skills – beyond what I’ve learned in my courses – to compete
better in the future.”

Teams competed virtually for 48 hours to tackle complex cybersecurity
challenges.  In each challenge, teams
were awarded points for hacking a vulnerable system and stealing flags.

“The qualifiers covered a wide variety of cybersecurity
topics like steganography, cryptography, reverse engineering, as well as many
others,” Cavanaugh said.   “Some of the
world’s best hackers and security professionals participate in DEFCON’s
competition. We think we can do much better next year and plan to train over
the next 12 months.  It’s going to take a
lot of hard work and dedication for us to compete on their level, but with enough
preparation we know we can get there.”

The top ten teams qualified to compete in the Defcon CTF
competition which will take place at the Defcon 2019 conference in Las Vegas
this August.

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