NDSU Students Place in Top 10 in Cybersecurity

A team of North Dakota State students received four top-10 finishes during the National Cyber League’s Fall 2018 competition.

According to Jeremy Straub, an assistant professor of computer science and associate director of the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research, the National Cyber League competition is a way for people to actually show their skills, focusing on penetration testing. This means the team locates an existing system to see if there is a vulnerability, or in others words, they perform ethical hacking.

NDSU’s team took seventh place nationally in open source intelligence, ninth in password cracking, eighth in log analysis and seventh in network traffic analysis.

“Cybersecurity is really the things that are necessary that are done to protect people’s data, to protect people from a system that otherwise might cause a problem,” Straub said. Cybersecurity professionals work in different areas to protect members of society in their day-to-day lives. They also protect the information of citizens from hacking.

Areas in which people interact with cybersecurity every day include security when using the internet, securing banking information and personal identifying information. Other areas that do not involve the internet include stoplights, production robots that produce manufactured goods and robots, such as a cyber-physical system, that are deployed across society.

An example Straub used was that cybersecurity could prevent stoplights from being hacked, which could lead to two drivers adjacent to each other getting a green light and resulting in a crash. Cybersecurity experts make sure stoplights are working the way they are supposed to.

“The reasons we need all of these resources devoted to cybersecurity is there are so many people out there that are trying to attack these systems, and basically take advantage of system vulnerability to get personal information, ” Straub said. He continued to point out that it requires a lot of resources to proactively make sure systems don’t have a vulnerability. This requires getting people better trained and getting people better prepared to actually go into the workforce.

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