Dec. 9, 2019

NDSU team takes seventh place in National Cyber League competition


A team of NDSU students took seventh place, out of nearly 800 registered teams, in the Network Traffic Analysis portion of the National Cyber League Team Competition. The team took 14th place in Enumeration and Exploitation, 25th place in Log Analysis and 28th place overall.  The team scored the maximum number of possible points in the Open Source Intelligence, Log Analysis, Network Traffic Analysis and Enumeration and Exploitation sections.

The National Cyber League – or NCL for short – was founded in 2011 to provide, methods of learning for cybersecurity professionals. The league was founded by the Cyber Security Privacy and Research Institute, the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance, CyberWatch West, the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technologies Center and the National CyberWatch Center.

NDSU’s team consisted of team captain Devin Gluesing, Taylor Schmidt, Jack Hance, Bonnie Jan, James Palmer, Cameron Kolodjski and Lyle Pedlar. 

“I was able to learn a lot about how to use programs like WireShark and HashCat and regular expressions,” said Palmer.  “It was fun testing my problem solving skills.”

With more than 300,000 open cybersecurity positions, according to, NDSU students are preparing for future employment through their participation in cybersecurity competitions like NCL. NCL, in particular, prepares students for penetration testing – testing systems for vulnerabilities before nefarious individuals can exploit them – positions, government service and many other careers. High-paying jobs await top cybersecurity students, with cybersecurity analysts earning, on average, $98,350, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Individuals with exemplary skills in cybersecurity are in extremely high demand,” said NDSU assistant professor Jeremy Straub, who mentors the National Cyber League Team. Straub is also the associate director of the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research. “The National Cyber League competition is an exciting way for students to learn and enhance their cybersecurity skills and demonstrate them to potential employers.”

As part of the competition, the students demonstrate their skills in multiple areas, including open source intelligence, cryptography, scanning, password cracking, log analysis, network traffic analysis, wireless access, web application exploitation and enumeration and exploitation.

“I had a good time exploring different aspects of cybersecurity,” said Kolodjski.  “I challenged myself by looking at new types of problems.”

NDSU students have competed in NCL since 2017. It is one of several cybersecurity competitions that NDSU students regularly participate in for educational and workforce preparation purposes. In 2019, NDSU students also took part in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition, HiveStorm, the MITRE Capture the Flag competition and the National Cyber Summit Cyber Cup competition.

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