Cyber Crime-fighting: students compete to secure cyber space

Cyber Security Awareness Week 2008 Logo with Spider and Text Reading Battles in the Cyber World

Polytechnic Institute of NYU's Fifth Annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) is pitting the nation's brightest computer science students against the stealthy — and ever-growing — world of cyber crime.

CSAW participants will compete during September and October in challenges that address, among other things, the key elements to fighting cyber crime: solid security to keep criminals out and sophisticated digital forensics to track criminals down.

“Cyber security, as we have seen in recent weeks on the world stage, will only become increasingly important as more of our own personal information and critical national assets migrate online,” said Professor Nasir Memon, founder of CSAW and director of the National Science Foundation-funded Information Systems and Internet Security Lab (ISIS).

“At NYU-Poly, we want to address cyber security challenges by fostering innovation and invention among our future technology leaders, and as in years past, we expect CSAW to highlight exceptional students who will emerge as leaders in the this dynamic field.”

The students’ cyber crime-fighting will culminate on October 14 on NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus at a day-long event where winners in each challenge will receive prizes (1st place: $500; 2nd place: $250; 3rd place: $100) and industry leaders will speak to a range of cyber-security issues.

CSAW’s seven individual and team challenges, most of which can be done remotely, range in duration from a month (embedded systems challenge) to a few hours (a team security quiz).  The competition is open to high school and college students from anywhere in the United States. Finalists from outside the New York City metropolitan area will receive travel grants to attend the awards ceremony.

In 2007, more than 300 students participated in CSAW and more than a dozen companies — Fortune 500s to small and mid-sized companies — sponsored the initiative.

CSAW began five years ago when Professor Memon devised it as a way to bolster awareness of cyber security and a way to develop innovative technology solutions based on cutting-edge research. It is mainly student-run and has become one of NYU-Poly’s most anticipated yearly events.
To register for CSAW and learn about specific challenges, visit the CSAW web site.