hinds hall buildingThe InfoSec Club at Syracuse University won the NCAE Cyber Games northeast regional competition and as a result received an invitation to the finals in Tampa Florida on April 23. The club is overseen by iSchool faculty member Bahram Attaie, and consists of students from a mix of different schools and disciplines; all sharing the same passion for information security, and a determination to keep ahead of the competition. The members of the team that advanced to Tampa, Florida, for the finals were club president, Anthony Louis Mazzacane (computer science), club VP, Fenya Makarova (iSchool), club webmaster, Allen Soberanes (iSchool), and club secretary, Cameron Litton (iSchool).

The club’s mission is to “help members develop technical skills in the field of information security to improve their value in the job market, and to promote awareness of cyber security issues and challenges.” There is no rest for the weary in this dynamic frontier. Students and professionals alike need to be forever sharpening their skills in order to stay effective in the always shifting field of play. Participating in competitions is one of the best ways to hone skill sets, train for execution under high-pressure scenarios, and to gauge the skill sets of peers entering the same field.

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), or NCAE Cyber Games, is “dedicated to inspiring college students to enter the exciting (and sometimes profitable!) realm of cyber competitions.” The competitions create an environment focused on teamwork, growing skills and confidence, and exploring the world of hackathons. Along with cash prizes, bragging rights, and great resume fodder, these competitions provide a unique opportunity to network with students and professionals already active in cybersecurity.

Fenya Makarova says, “involvement with the club feels like we’re applying a lot of knowledge learned from class to real world scenarios. We managed to win the regional competition because we have a strong knowledge of services AND some people who are great with CTFs (Capture the Flag exercises).” As the Syracuse team moved on to the finals, their skills and resilience were put to the test. The technical prowess and educational proficiencies of Syracuse University were well represented, and were on full display, at the NCAE Cyber Games Finals in Florida.