CSU, Chico News

Students Excel in National Cybersecurity Competition

Date: 01-26-2015

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
David Zeichick, professor
Computer Science

Computer science students at California State University, Chico finished near the top of the National Cyber League’s fall 2014 regular and postseason leaderboards.

CSU, Chico teams placed second and seventh in the silver bracket and seventh, 21st and 25th in the bronze bracket in the postseason competition, which involved solving dozens of computer puzzles.

In regular-season competition, Matt Bourn placed 28th and Ryan Nelson placed 37th in the silver bracket. Their finishes rank them fourth and 11th in the league’s western region, respectively.

“I am very proud of how well the students did in their first cyber challenge,” said computer science lecturer David Zeichick, whose course, Advanced Security (CINS 548), required league participation. “Out of 145 colleges, our students scored extremely well.”

Students earned points for correctly solving the security puzzles, which included cracking scrambled passwords and analyzing a file’s effects on a computer. To prepare for team competition, they completed three individual pre-competition challenges and online labs.

In a fun twist, CSU, Chico’s Beta Team, comprised of less experienced students, finished second only to a team from Jacksonville University and edged out a joint team from Hartnell College and CSU, Monterey Bay. The University’s Alpha Team trailed the Beta Team by about 10,000 points.

Zeichick said cyber security is an area of increasing relevance which reaches across all industries.

“Companies are really starting to understand that [computer security] is an important department to have, and therefore there’s a big need for these skills, and that’s new,” Zeichick said. “This competition improves the interest level and the skills of our students, and makes the work fun.”

The National Cyber League provides simulation environments to help college students develop their cybersecurity skills. Learn more at www.nationalcyberleague.org.

CSU, Chico’s Computer Information SystemsProgram achieved accreditation in 2008 and was the first such program in the western United States to do so. Learn more about the program here.