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CIS students prepare for Cybersecurity competition

CSU-Pueblo CyberWolves NCL team from Spring 2018. Left to Right Back Row: Steve Ullman, Joshua Salazar Greer, Hunter Stephens, Alex Marcks Front Row: Garbila Garcia-Greer, Ryan Garbars, Dr. Roberto Mejias
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From CSU-Pueblo Officials

The “CyberWolves,” Colorado State University-Pueblo’s National Cyber League Cybersecurity team, nationally ranked No. 9 in the U.S. out of over 265 university teams, will begin preparing for the 2018 competition.

There are approximately 15 CSU-Pueblo students registered for the upcoming 2018 fall NCL cybersecurity competition, which will be held the first consecutive weekends of November. The Individual NCL Cyber Competition games are scheduled for Nov. 2 to Nov 4, while the Team Level NCL Cyber Competition games will be Nov. 9. to Nov. 11.

Last fall, CSU-Pueblo had the top-ranked national NCL champion, Ryan Garbars, on the CyberWolves team scoring No. 1 in the nation in the Regular (individual) NCL games out of 2,423 competitors from 68 institutions. Returning for his senior year, Garbers will be competing again for this 2018 fall NCL season.

The CyberWolves are working together every other Thursday evening to prepare for this fall’s 2018 NCL competition. “Our CSU-Pueblo CIS students are generating an excellent reputation in Colorado for being future tech-savvy, hardworking and cyber security-oriented professionals,” said Dr. Roberto Mejias, director of the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research and NCL coach.

Mejias said many of the national cybersecurity competitors use pseudonyms or anonymous pen names or “handles” during these national NCL games. However, Mejias asked the University’s “CyberWolves” students to use the suffix “CSU-Pueblo” in order to generate recognition for CSU-Pueblo as a U.S. National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence designated institution.

And it certainly did, as students from all over Colorado are now calling and inquiring about the Computer Information Systems and Cybersecurity program at CSU-Pueblo. Since 2016, the university has been designated as a U.S. National Security Agency-Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (NSA-CAE/CDE) institution.

The CCSER at CSU-Pueblo serves as an interdisciplinary center to provide program guidance, training and research support in the areas of cybersecurity, information assurance and cyber defense, and fosters collaboration and outreach opportunities for students, faculty, interested programs and all other private and public institutions.

 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL CYBER LEAGUE (NCL)

As the shortage of qualified employees in the cybersecurity industry continues (there is a predicted shortfall of 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. workforce alone (Anderson, 2016) ) the National Cyber League (NCL), a 501(c) nonprofit organization is helping to create excitement and interest for careers in cybersecurity.

NCL is unique in that it requires participants to apply knowledge and skills to solve real world problems, which especially helps in various I.T. and cybersecurity certification exams. NCL Players are put into the role of a cyber analyst and are responsible for code breaking, identifying vulnerabilities and investigating forensic evidence for potential cybersecurity threats. NCL players are often required to decode or crack an encryption scheme developed by an adversary or threat. Or NCL players will also be asked to analyze network traffic and identify IoT devices on a corporate network that could be leaking sensitive information.

The challenge categories, which all pertain to the real-world cyber threats, include Network Traffic Analysis, Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, Steganography and Web Application Security.

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

  • NCL cybersecurity practice sessions are every other Thursday in the Hasan School of Business, Building Room 119 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Next practice session, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.
  • The NCL “Gym” where registered NCL students can practice and learn to prepare for the upcoming Fall, 2018 NCL cyber competition opens from Oct. 8, 2018 until Dec. 2018. The NCL Gym prepares registered NCL students for the following NCL competitions
  • Oct. 19 to Oct. 27, 2018; Mandatory Pre-Season Qualifying Competition (where student ability is bracketed into Bronze, Silver and Gold proficiency levels).
  • Nov. 2 to Nov. 4, 2018; Regular (Individual) NCL Cyber Competition games
  • Nov. 9, to Nov. 11, 2018; Team Level NCL Cyber Competition games