NYU-Poly Cyber War Games Find Top Collegiate Sleuths

10 Teams Advance to Finals in Digital Challenges Designed to Discover the Next Generation of Cyber-Security Stars; Other Contests Remain Open for High School and College Students

Judges today confirmed winners of the opening round of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University 6th Annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) digital war games held this weekend for students around the globe.

Among the winners of the first round of the Application Security Challenge: A freshman from NYU-Poly who played solo, a high school student who was part of a French collegiate team and a sweep of the top two spots by teams from Carnegie Mellon University.

Under the guidance of Nasir Memon, graduate students of NYU-Poly’s Information Systems and Internet Security Lab (ISIS) run the games, many of which are designed by prominent “white hat” hackers who protect security systems.  The Application Security Challenge is just one of the challenges.  Others, aimed at students from high school to graduate school, are still accepting applications at http://engineering.nyu.edu/csaw.

Last weekend’s 10 winning teams were:

  1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, undergraduates Brian Pak, Andrew Wesie, Tyler Nighswander and David Kohlbrenner;
  2. Carnegie Mellon University, graduate students Joseph Ceirante, Jonathan Cooke and Jim Irving;
  3. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., undergraduates Alexandru Radocea, Ryan Govostes, Adam Comella and Andrew Zonenberg;
  4. DePaul University, Chicago, undergraduates Jonathan Tomek, Chris Long, Chris Lytle and Matthew Thomas;
  5. French team of Samir Megueddem, undergraduate student at Ecole UVHC - Antenne Maubeuge; Brabez Sofian, graduate student at University Paris-Est of Marne-le-VallŽe, Florian Ledoux, high school student at IUT de Lens, Nord and undergraduate student at Université Joseph Fourier - Cisse Abdoul Malick;
  6. Undergraduates Alex Kouzemtchenko of University of New South Wales, Australia; Bob Graham of North Carolina State University, Raleigh, and Luke Jahnke, University of Queensland, Australia;
  7. NYU-Poly undergraduate Julian Cohen;
  8. University of Hawaii at Hilo undergraduates Francis Usher, Chris Usher, Asael Temple, Jahrain Jackson;
  9. California State Polytechnic University and NYU-Poly undergraduates Nick Trevino, Timothy Goya and Stanislav Palatnik.
  10. University of Texas at Dallas undergraduate Duan Ngo Toan.   

The winning teams from this weekend’s challenge are eligible to compete Nov. 13 in the final round of the CSAW games at NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus for prizes that include a graduate-level scholarship to its prominent cyber-security program.

One of the designers of this weekend’s challenge, Dino Dai Zovi, is known in the cyber security community for his abilities with iPhones and Macs. Co-author of The Mac Hacker's Handbook and The Art of Software Security Testing, he also teaches at NYU-Poly.  Co-author of the Application Security Challenge was Stephen Ridley of the security research and development firm Matasano Security.  The all-star panel of judges also included Dean De Beer, principal of the security firm zero(day)solutions, and Erik Cabetas, a frequent guest speaker at Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) events and co-author of Network Security Tools.

“The teams faced tougher challenges than ever, requiring knowledge of not just PC-based systems, but of architectures for mobile phones and Macs,” said Memon, head of NYU-Poly’s digital security department and the ISIS lab. “We thank the judges who worked so diligently to challenge the best minds in the field, and we look forward to what is in store in the final round.”

Memon thanked CSAW sponsors that provide the travel funds and prizes to make the student-run competition possible.  Sponsors are the prominent security trainers SANS, Cisco, and major defense contractors L-3 Communications and BAE Systems.