NDSU Students Take Top Cybersecurity Honors, Nationally

NCL Winners

At the North Dakota State University, students are preparing for future battles online – whether in the role of a military service member, civilian government employee or in the private sector – through competing in the National Cyber League. NDSU students excelled in the competition, with one student – Isaac Burton – placing in the top 60 of thousands of competitors, nationwide. Three other students, Lucas Miller, Michael Gibbons, and Demitrius Fenton, placed within the top three hundred competitors, of thousands of participating students, nationwide.

The National Cyber League – or NCL for short – was founded in 2011 to provide, according to the organization, “engaging, entertaining, measurable, and scalable methods of learning to enlist a new generation of cybersecurity professionals.” NCL was founded by the Cyber Security Privacy and Research Institute, the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance, CyberWatch West, the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technologies Center and the National CyberWatch Center.

Graduates with skills in cybersecurity are in extremely high demand. The National Cyber League competition is an exciting way for students to learn and enhance their cybersecurity skills and demonstrate them to potential employers.

Jeremy Straub, Assistant Professor, NDSU Computer Science

“Graduates with skills in cybersecurity are in extremely high demand,” said NDSU Assistant Professor Jeremy Straub, who mentors the National Cyber League Team. Straub is also the Associate Director of the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research. “The National Cyber League competition is an exciting way for students to learn and enhance their cybersecurity skills and demonstrate them to potential employers.”

As part of the competition, the students had to demonstrate their cybersecurity skills in multiple areas including open source intelligence, cryptography, scanning, password cracking, log analysis, network traffic analysis, wireless access, and web application exploitation and enumeration and exploitation. To reach coveted top one-hundred status, Burton had to excel in all of these areas. In the areas of open source intelligence and wireless access exploitation, he received all of the possible points.

For Burton, participating in NCL is about both the learning experience – as well as seeking a job in the field.

“It has helped me display my skills, allowing me to show companies what I can bring to their company,” said Burton. “The challenges in NCL have helped me in my cybersecurity education immensely. It is a lot of fun and I have seen a major improvement in my cybersecurity skills.”

NCL also provides students a way to expand upon the skills they’ve learned in their coursework.

“The National Cyber League has given me a great opportunity to apply the skills I have learned from my classes,” commented Gibbons. “The best thing about The National Cyber League is it provides me with a safe environment in which I can practice my skills.”

For Fenton and Miller, the spring 2018 season is their first time participating in NCL. Burton and Gibbons competed in the fall 2017 competition, previously. Fourteen NDSU students participated in NCL in Spring of 2018.

Source: NDSU Computer Science


Categories: Security

Tags: competition, cybersecurity, National Cyber League, NDSU, North Dakota, students

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About NDSU Computer Science

The NDSU Computer Science Department was founded in 1988 (though computer science courses were offered as part of Mathematical Sciences since 1973). It occupies 7,460 square feet and has approximately 600 graduate and undergraduate student majors.