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NDSU places second in National Cyber Cup competition

A four-person team from NDSU has taken second place in the National Cyber Cup student cybersecurity competition. The competition, held as part of the National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, Alabama, brought together student competitors from across the nation.

NDSU’s team included computer science sophomore and team captain Jack Hance, senior Bryant Lennick, graduate student Pann Ajjimaporn and Pranay Marella from Mississippi State University, who is conducting undergraduate research at NDSU this summer.

“Competitions like the Cyber Cup are extremely motivational and provide an opportunity to showcase students’ technical skills,” said assistant professor Jeremy Straub, who is the coordinator of cybersecurity programs in the Department of Computer Science. “The performance of students over time also demonstrates the quality of NDSU’s programs in preparing students, both for the competitions and for the real-world challenges and careers that they are modeled after.”

The competition is sponsored by Deloitte, Netizen CyberSecure Solutions, Trideum and U.S. Army ROTC. Each team competed in one of three four-hour heats and were ranked by the number of points scored. Teams earned points by solving challenges related to network security, including topics related to penetration testing and networking.

“The Cyber Cup Challenge was a very interesting competition and I had a fun time participating,” Hance said.  “It had several real-world reflective challenges that I thought were incredibly cool. It was a great learning experience.”

The four team members worked together to solve the competition’s cyber challenges. The competition provides more problems than teams can answer during the allotted time. Teams must select questions, divide assignments among team members, work on solutions and submit answers under deadline pressure.

“I loved how everyone participated,” said Lennick. “It was really cool to see first-hand what the hacking business is like.”

NDSU students compete in multiple cybersecurity competitions each year. The competitions provide an opportunity for the students to develop and demonstrate their skills in career-relevant areas. The competitions are watched by prospective employers who recruit top cyber talent.

Students prepare for the competitions through independent peer learning activities as well as coursework. NDSU offers both undergraduate and graduate credentials in cybersecurity, including a graduate certificate in cybersecurity and cybersecurity options as part of its well-established master’s and doctoral programs in computer science and software engineering.

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