World’s Best Student Hackers Advance to Final Rounds of NYU Cyber Security Awareness Week Games

Top Teams From India, the Middle East, North Africa, the United States, and Canada Win Slots to Compete at NYU Tandon, NYU Abu Dhabi, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

CSAW Finals

Students complete at the 2015 CSAW finals

After 48 hours of around-the-clock software hacking contests, an elite corps of college students bested more than 2,000 teams in the world’s biggest student-led cybersecurity contest: the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) games.

With business and government facing more frequent and brazen attacks by hackers, cybersecurity is now one of the fastest growing and most lucrative fields in the world. Experts are in short supply: This year alone there are one million cybersecurity job openings worldwide, including 209,000 in the United States, with the shortfall expected to reach 1.5 million globally by 2020.

The flagship event of CSAW is the Capture the Flag (CTF) competition, which tests software security skills. CTFs are not only essential training for students and cybersecurity professionals, they are also a way to introduce young people worldwide to the field and entice them to pursue information security careers. For the CSAW CTF preliminaries (September 16-18, 2016), which were open to competitors of all levels, participants from 109 countries registered to compete.

The CSAW finals will include multiple events spread over three days (November 10-12, 2016). In the past, all CSAW final events have been held at NYU Tandon in Downtown Brooklyn. This year CSAW has expanded to include NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), one of the top universities for computer science education in India. Student teams from India, the Middle East and North Africa, and the United States will compete simultaneously — and in person — at the three schools.

As competitors advance through CTF challenges they earn points, or “flags,” with winners qualifying for cash prizes, bragging rights, and travel awards to compete at the finals.

The teams competing at the CSAW NYU Finals in New York are:

  1. 1064 Shellphish, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Team members: Andrew Dutcher, Caitlin Scarberry, Brandon Dutcher
  2. ascii overflow, University of Tulsa
    Team members: Tabor Kvasnicka, Michael Kinealy, Michael Frohlich, Stephen Moffitt
  3. Batman’s Kitchen, University of Washington
    Team members: Dan Arens, Stanley Hsieh, Alex Kirchhoff, Bo Wang
  4. bitsforeveryone, United States Military Academy
    Team members: Drew Parker, David Trate, Matt Shockley, Chris Maixner
  5. Bruin Bashers (formerly hanto), University of California, Los Angeles
    Team members: Hidehiro Anto, Vincent Jin, Justin Li, Hansen Qiu
  6. CSH, Rochester Institute of Technology
    Team members: Brad Campbell, Duc Phan, Jacob Wood, Joel Margolis
  7. DCIETS, École de technologie supérieure (Montreal)
    Team members: Benoit Côté-Jodoin, Louis Dion-Marcil, David Lebrun, Jean-Sébastien Fauteux
  8. DCUA, University of the People
    Team member: Dongseon (Rex) Kim
  9. DDOS Attacks, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Team members: Wesley Cheung, Varun Iyer, Vishwa Iyer, Manas George
  10. Don’t hack alone, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Team members: John Grosen, Ashley Kim, Jason Lam, Aleksejs Popovs
  11. Hubert Hacking, Université du Québec à Montréal
    Team Members: Frédéric Vachon, Nicolas Lamoureux, Louis Rousseau, Marc-Antoine Sauvé
  12. Knightsec, University of Central Florida
    Team members:  Ditmar Wendt, Andrew Hughes, Jonathan Lundstrom, Kevin Colley
  13. PPP1, Carnegie Mellon University
    Team members: Tim Becker, Corwin de Boor, Samuel Kim, Matthew Savage
  14. RPISEC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Team members: Nick Burnett, Joshua Ferrell, Kareem El-Faramawi, Branden Clark
  15. uiuctf, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Team members: Will Song, JP Smith, Paul Emge, Eric Hennenfent

“Data security is a global issue, and attackers can come from any corner of the globe. To fill the high demand for cybersecurity experts, educating a new generation of security experts is of the utmost importance,” said NYU Tandon Computer Science and Engineering Professor Nasir Memon, who founded CSAW 13 years ago. “We are pleased that IIT Kanpur, a leading engineering school, recognizes the value of CTF. I am equally excited about the role that NYU Abu Dhabi will play this year, opening opportunities for students throughout the Middle East and North Africa.” Memon heads NYU Abu Dhabi’s cybersecurity program as well as NYU Tandon’s.

“CSAW@IITK is a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity awareness event in India, thanks to our partnership with the New York University's Tandon School of Engineering,” said Sandeep K. Shukla, the Poonam and Prabhu Goel Chair Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur. “For this first year, 70-team participation in the CTF here is quite good, and as more colleges and institutes learn from this year's events, we expect the participation to grow multi-fold in the next few years.”

He added that the competition helped IIT Kanpur identify the institutes that have a culture of CTF participation. “We will try to pivot to them to grow the interest in other institutes in the coming year. Overall it has been a great experience working internationally on this event with NYU Tandon and NYU Abu Dhabi. IIT Kanpur has been a pioneer in computer science education in India since the 1960s, and we plan to pioneer cybersecurity education in India as well — this event is part of that vision.”

Sponsors for CSAW 2016 are: Gold Level — U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Trend Micro, and Palo Alto Networks; Silver Level — IBM, Google, Kroll, Bridgewater; Bronze Level — Navy Civilian Careers, NCC Group, Raytheon, Facebook; Supporting Level — Bloomberg, Cubic, Intel, National Security Agency, Optiv, Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Secret Service, EY, and The Ruth & Jerome A. Siegel Foundation; Contributing — Cigital, ACSA, Altera.

For more information, visit the CSAW website and follow on Twitter and Facebook

Note: Images from the 2015 CSAW finals at

About the NYU Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within the country’s largest private research university and is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit

About IIT Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, is one of the premier institutions set up by the Government of India. Registered in 1959, the institute was assisted by nine leading institutions of U.S.A in the setting up of its academic programs and laboratories during the period 1962-72. With its record of path-breaking innovations and cutting edge research, the institute is known the world over as a learning centre of repute in engineering, science and several inter-disciplinary areas. In addition to formal undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the institute has been active in research and development in areas of value to both industry and government. For more information, visit

About NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi consists of a highly selective liberal arts and science college (including engineering), and a world center for advanced research and scholarship — all fully integrated with each other and connected to NYU in New York. Together, NYU New York, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global network university, with faculty and students from each campus spending "semesters away" at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents. For more information, visit