UCCS engineering students score highly in cyber competition

A team of UCCS engineering students recently scored highly in an international capture the flag competition sponsored by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

But this is no frivolous summer camp game. Today, capture the flag competitions pit teams of university students from around the world against each other to test abilities to defend computer servers from malicious hackers. The teams use virtual server images and compete against each other to exploit or patch security holes. Points are awarded when teams are able to maintain services without being shut down, to recognize attacks and to create successful exploits.

This year’s competition, created by Giovanni Vigna, professor, Department of Computer Science, UCSB, and his students mimicked the activities of mining, refining and building nuclear weapons. The scenario injected a realistic cyber-defense element to the Dec. 6 competition.

A UCCS team of PeakChaosUCLion included 15 students supported by Edward Chow, professor, Department of Computer Science. According to Chow, the UCCS students fared well in the competition, matching skills and wits with teams from the United States Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy and other top universities from around the world. The UCCS team ranked 16 of 123 of all universities participating and fourth among 44 teams from U.S. universities.

“Congratulations to the team and Edward,” Joe Zhou, associate professor and department chair, Department of Computer Science, said. “The annual competitions are gaining international visibility for our cyber security program. Thanks for team building, training, and leadership.”

Chow was quick to credit the PeakChaos student club for working throughout the year to prepare for the competition. The PeakChaos student club conducted weekly meetings and training camps to refine their computer hacking skills. They also reach out to the community by training local high school students in computer security. The PeakChaosUCLion team was assisted by Greg Williams, security principal, Information Technology, who is also a master’s degree student in the Department of Computer Science.

For more information about the competition, visit http://www.ictf2013.net

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