Oct. 10, 2022

NDSU team finishes second at cybersecurity competition


A team of NDSU students recently placed second in the capture-the-flag cybersecurity competition at the BSides Portland Conference at Portland State University. More than 35 teams student and professional teams competed to solve real world cybersecurity challenges. 

The NDSU team included students Ben Clark, Caden Schmandt and Cameron Kolodjski. NDSU students Danielle Hanson and Matthew Tassava also attended the conference. 

“It was a great learning experience,” Clark said. “Opportunities like this are hard to come by. The challenges, labs, workshops and talks all were excellent.”

The competition was a day-long event. It included challenges requiring teams to demonstrate ethical hacking cybersecurity and problem-solving abilities. 

“I’m really proud of our team for managing to pull off second place,” Schmandt said. “It was a great competition that caused me to learn new tools and techniques to add to my skillset.”

This was NDSU’s first time competing in the capture-the-flag cybersecurity competition at the conference.

BSides conferences are held around the world. The Portland conference is one of the more established events, having been held annually for more than a decade.

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.

“This was an excellent opportunity for the students,” said Jeremy Straub, director of the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research and assistant professor of computer science. Straub also mentors the cybersecurity competition teams. “They got to meet peer students with a passion for cybersecurity from around the region and several companies who were onsite recruiting. They were able to demonstrate their skills through their excellent competition performance.” 

The students were awarded a gift certificate and other prizes.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens. 

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