News

NYU Tandon Senior Nick Gregory Aces the $10,000 Atlanta Cyber Challenge

 Atlanta Cyber Challenge winner Nick Gregory on screen

Computer Science Student Nick Gregory received his $10,000 award in a virtual check presentation ceremony at the University of North Georgia’s Center for Cyber Operations Education. Left to right: Dr. Bryson Payne, UNG Computer Science Professor, Nick Gregory on screen, and John Chesser, Head of DataPath’s Information Technology and Director of the Company’s Cyber Software Product Line.

Nick Gregory is no stranger to exciting cybersecurity challenges. An integral part of NYU Tandon’s Cyber Security Awareness Worldwide (CSAW) initiative, the largest student-run cyber security event in the world, he has served for three years as the co-leader of the popular CSAW Capture the Flag (CTF) competition, writing the challenges and helping run the massive undertaking. (During his time at Tandon, CSAW Finals have expanded from a single, local site to five international locations.)

Nick Gregory

This month, Gregory took a break from his activities in Brooklyn to enter the $10,000 Atlanta Cyber Challenge, a competition co-sponsored by tech company DataPath and USI Insurance Services. The grueling event took place over the space of three days, during which participants solved 96 cyber puzzles, with each successive challenge becoming more difficult. A mastery of several areas, including network operations, reverse engineering, Linux exploitation, and malware repurposing, was required to triumph in the event, and Gregory, whose own research at Tandon focuses on low-level system emulation and exploitation, tallied up enough points to take home the top prize.

The outgoing Vice President and Infrastructure Manager of Tandon’s Offensive Security, Incident Response and Internet Security (OSIRIS) Laboratory, Gregory has also co-developed and co-taught a new Tandon class on taking a proactive approach to preventing cyber attacks.

His stellar performance in Atlanta did not surprise anyone who has worked or studied with him.

“Nick is a real infosec triple threat,” Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Brendan Dolan-Gavitt said. “He has excelled as a CTF competitor, academic researcher, and instructor and mentor to other students. I’m very proud to have helped nurture his talent in the OSIRIS Lab!”

“Nick is a great example of the caliber of student we are nurturing here at NYU Tandon,” Professor Nasir Memon, who launched CSAW 15 years ago, added. “Our school is a major hub of cybersecurity research and innovation because of those like him. I have no doubt he will go on to make major contributions in the field and help ensure that our systems and infrastructure remain secure in the face of ever-evolving threats.”