Top Student Hackers in North American Progress to Final Round of NYU-Poly CyberSecurity Awareness Week

After 72 Hours and Competition from 13,500 Students and Professionals Worldwide, 15 Teams Win Berth in CSAW Capture the Flag Contest

Brooklyn, N.Y.—After 72 grueling hours of worldwide competition from 82 countries, 15 student teams will progress to the final round of one of the biggest Capture the Flag (CTF) hacking competitions, part of the 10th annual Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW). For the first time, a high school team scored so highly that the judges invited its members to join the heretofore all-undergraduate final round.

The NYU-Poly CSAW CTF is a competition designed to test the application security skills of students interested in computer security, but the preliminary round is open to all—and competitors include professionals as well as students. Working in teams, CTF competitors mounted attacks on vulnerable applications and solved offense challenges in their quest to earn the most points, or “flags,” and qualify for cash prizes up to $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to New York City for the CSAW finals on November 14-16, 2013. Only teams from the United States and Canada are eligible to compete in the final round, which will award cash prizes and scholarships.

While many of this year’s finalists are returning from schools with strong cyber security programs that competed last year, there were a few surprises, including the team from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif., and a rare single-person team from Carnegie Melon University.

The winning student teams are:

1st) EpicPhail–Northeastern University and University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Amat Insa Cama, Junior
  • Jake Corina, Sophmore
  • Gregory Michael Price, Freshman
  • Joseph Kurien, Senior

2nd) PPP1-- Carnegie Mellon University

  • Maxime Serrano, Junior
  • Ryan Goulden, Junior
  • Lawrence Jackson, Senior
  • Chris Williamson, Junior

3rd) DCI-­‐ETS--Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Montreal

  • Olivier Arteau, Junior
  • Israël Hallé, Junior
  • Félix Cloutier, Junior
  • Mathieu Binette, Junior

4th) CISSP Groupies—-- Ecole de Technologie Superieure

  • Francois Chagnon, 5th year
  • Benjamin Vanheuverzwijn, 5th year
  • Marc-­‐Etienne M.Léveillé, 5th year
  • Mathieu Lavoie, 4th year

5th) WCSC—University of South Florida

  • Andrew Calvano, Senior
  • Benjamin Curtiss, Senior
  • Lukyan Hritsko, Senior
  • Daniel Sweet, Senior

6th) BUILDS--Boston University

  • Danny Cooper, Senior
  • Andrew Mohn, Senior
  • George Silvis III, Senior
  • Allan Wirth, Junior

7th) tomcr00se—Carnegie Mellon University

  • George Hotz, Junior

8th) Uiuctf—University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Samuel Sharps, Junior
  • Corbin Souffrant, Senior
  • David Jiang, Junior
  • Nick Ciaglia, Senior

9th) Delusions of Grandeur—United States Air Force Academy

  • • Keane Lucas, Senior
  • • Kevin Cooper, Junior
  • • Bill Parks, Junior
  • • Zach Madison, Junior

10th) RPISEC—Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Markus Gaasedelen, Junior
  • Patrick Biernat, Sophmore
  • Austin Ralls, Freshman
  • Andrew Fasano, Senior

11th) 1064CBread—Dos Pueblos High School, Goleta, Calif.

  • Andrew Dutcher, Senior
  • Alex Meiburg, Senior
  • Charlie Green, Senior
  • John Grosen, Sophomore

12th) Knightsec—University of Central Florida

  • Grant Hernandez, Junior
  • Mark Ignacio, Junior
  • Ditmar Wendt, Junior
  • Jonathan Singer, Senior

13th) Mad Hatters—Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Kennon Bittick, Junior
  • Nick Johnson, Junior
  • Robert Grosse, Senior
  • Eric Zhang, Sophomore

14th) Nullify—University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Ryan Grandgenett, Senior
  • Darek Jensen, Junior
  • Mike George, Junior
  • Spencer McClain, Senior

15th) Bits for Everyone—United States Military Academy

  • Benjamin Allison, Senior
  • Christian Sharpsten, Senior
  • Daniel Ford, Senior
  • Jessie Lass, Sophmore

For the fourth year in a row, participation in this year’s NYU-Poly CSAW CTF doubled, to 13,524 competitors playing on 1,387 teams serious enough to score points. During the 72 hours of the preliminary competition Sept. 19-22, the website received more than 3 million hits from competitors and fans.

“The doubling of entrants again this year is a sign that more students are being drawn to the excitement of computer security,” said Nasir Memon, founder of CSAW and head of its Computer Science and Engineering Department.  “Society is facing a critical shortage of cyber security professionals, and events like CSAW are essential to the effort of nurturing talent and building an important workforce of the future.”

CSAW is one of the world’s leading cyber security education events. The three-day CSAW finals, held November 14-16, 2013, will draw hundreds of the world’s most promising cyber security students and leading practitioners to NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus. The challenges are led by NYU-Poly cyber security students and created with help from security professionals and academics.

In addition to CTF, other games include the High School Forensics Competition, a digital murder-mystery game; the Embedded Systems Competition, an advanced round of play to discover and exploit hardware vulnerabilities; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Security Quiz, a trivia game open to all students during the CSAW finals; a competition to find the best published student cyber security research; and a contest in which students design interactive web experiences to emphasize the importance of cyber security awareness.

The THREADS security conference will open the CSAW events and bring to campus top cyber security researchers to explain measures they developed for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It is open to students and professionals. All cyber security students in the region are invited to participate in a career fair that is also part of CSAW.

For more information about NYU-Poly’s CSAW, visit

NYU-Poly was one of the first universities to introduce a cyber security program, and is designated as both a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and a Center of Academic Excellence in Research by the National Security Agency.  The Sloan Consortium, an affiliation of educators and institutions dedicated to quality online education, named NYU-Poly’s virtual graduate cyber security program the Outstanding Online Program of 2011. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP), a cutting-edge research collaboration of NYU-Poly and other NYU schools, re-examines the entire cyber security paradigm to integrate technology with broader issues such as human psychology, business, public policies and law. CSAW is hosted by NYU-Poly’s Information Systems and Security Laboratory (ISIS Lab).

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is a gold sponsor of CSAW, and Facebook and Qualcomm provide support at the bronze level. To date, 22 companies have provided generous funding for the educational goals of NYU-Poly’s CSAW.