On Saturday, April 1, students from Illinois Institute of Technology’s cybersecurity student organization, CyberHawks, won the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE) Cyber Games Midwestern Regional 2. The CyberHawks faced off against nine teams from eight other universities and surpassed their previous top score at last year’s Midwestern Regional and National Championships. This year’s team was composed of engineering and computing students from across cybersecurity disciplines, including David Arnold (Ph.D. Computer Engineering, Founder and President Emeritus of CyberHawks), John Ford (Co-terminal B.S./M.S. Computer and Cybersecurity Engineering/Computer Engineering, President of CyberHawks) Kat Stevens (B.S. Applied Cybersecurity and Information Technology), Lucas Ferguson (B.S. Computer Science), Benjamin de Pater (B.S. Computer Science), Johan Boban (MAS Cybersecurity), Sai Aditya Nikhil Bhardwaj Lagad (MAS Cybersecurity), Joanna Findura (Co-Terminal B.S. Computer Engineering/M.S. Computer Engineering), Kevin Gandhi (M.S. Cyber Forensics and Security), and Elizabeth Aquino (Co-Terminal B.S. Computer Science, M.S. Cybersecurity). Arnold was also recognized as the Most Valuable Teammate and Ferguson was recognized as the Most Improved at the end of the event.
The competition challenged students to set up a network environment and defend it against a team of professional penetration testers. Students were also presented with cybersecurity challenges as part of a Capture The Flag (CTF) portion, which challenged students on a range of cybersecurity skills, such as threat identification, cryptography, coding, and forensics. Arnold, Ford, and Stevens took charge of defending the network, setting up defenses, and looking for exposed vulnerabilities. Ferguson, de Pater, Boban, Lagad, Findura, and Gandhi worked together to solve the CTF challenges.
The team looks forward to representing Illinois Tech at the National Championships on April 22 at the University of South Florida.