Students win security competition

Friday, March 30, 2012

Front, from left: Ryan McDougall, Eric Kluthe and George Massawe. Back, from left: Joshua Platz, Jake Soenneker and Derek Winter.

A group of St. Cloud State students was crowned champions at the Minnesota Collegiate Cyber Defense competition on Feb. 15 in Alexandria. Those students are: Matthew Sitko, senior, Mahtomedi; Taylor Swanson, junior, Princeton; Ryan McDougal, junior, Monticello; Derek Winters, senior, Champlin; Jake Soenecker, senior, Clear Lake; Joshua Platz, senior, St. Cloud; Martin Smith, junior, Bismarck, N.D.; Eric Kluthe, senior, Apple Valley.

That win comes after the success of another group that won the Open Web Application Security Project USA 2011 University Challenge held at the Minneapolis Convention Center in September.

“This is another great achievement by students in the CNA (IT) program,” said Tirthankar Ghosh, associate professor at the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. “This is a moment of pride for all of us, a moment of pride for SCSU.”

The St. Cloud State team not only won the overall competition in the September event but also scored the highest on the “attack portion” of this application security university challenge.

The competition was divided into two challenges – security penetration and security defense. In the first challenge, the students were required to break into a number of websites provided to them, identify their security vulnerabilities and suggest solutions to fix them. In the second challenge, the teams had to set up a virtual store, identify any weaknesses in the code and resolve them by providing new programming changes to the code.

“These challenges gave us a well-rounded experience of a security professional, both with being able to attack as well as to defend web applications,” Platz said.

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