CSM Cy­ber­hawks take first place at in­au­gu­ral statewide cy­ber com­pe­ti­tion

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The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land Cy­ber­hawks won first place hon­ors at the Mary­land Com­mu­nity Col­lege Cy­ber Com­pe­ti­tion held April 7 at the Mont­gomery Com­mu­nity Col­lege Ger­man­town Cam­pus, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. The Cy­ber­hawks com­peted against more than 20 teams from 10 dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity col­leges from across the state at the in­au­gu­ral event.

“This was all due to the hard work of those Cy­ber­se­cu­rity Club mem­bers,” said As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor James Graves, one of the team’s spon­sors. “They pre­pared for their first com­pe­ti­tion and re­ally fol­lowed through. I’m very proud of what they have ac­com­plished and look for­ward to see­ing their full po­ten­tial.”

The Cy­ber­hawks, rep­re­sented by CSM stu­dents Caleb Craft of Wal­dorf, Cody Hight of King Ge­orge, Va., and Don Price of Char­lotte Hall, held a con­sis­tent lead dur­ing the first half of the two-hour com­pe­ti­tion. But in the last 40 min­utes a team from Fred­er­ick Com­mu­nity Col­lege be­gan to chal­lenge CSM for first place. The Cy­ber­hawks bat­tled back, re­gain­ing the lead in just the last 18 sec­onds of the com­pe­ti­tion. The Cy­ber­hawks left the chal­lenge as cham­pi­ons, earn­ing 3,466 points over­all.

The com­pe­ti­tion tested the stu­dents’ abil­ity to solve cy­ber puz­zles in five cat­e­gories: com­puter foren­sics, cryp­tog­ra­phy, bi­nary cod­ing, net­work­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions and a mis­cel­la­neous mys­tery topic.

Hight cred­ited the Cy­ber­hawk’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion and team­work skills for the win. “The few times I looked up from our screens it ap­peared as if ev­ery­one was do­ing their own chal­lenges in­di­vid­u­ally, whereas if one of us got stuck on some­thing we asked one of the oth­ers if they knew some­thing about it, and some­times we traded prob­lems,” he said. “Com­ing out in first place was sig­nif­i­cantly sur­pris­ing to me. Be­ing my first com­pe­ti­tion, I was only ex­pect­ing to learn how the com­pe­ti­tions work and have fun.”

“This was our first CTF com­pe­ti­tion,” Craft said. “How­ever, we have been com­pet­ing in sev­eral na­tional and global com­pe­ti­tions that take place on­line. We plan on par­tic­i­pat­ing in fu­ture com­pe­ti­tions and I hope we can con­tinue to im­prove our knowl­edge and skills.”

As the com­pe­ti­tion’s cham­pi­ons, the Cy­ber­hawks won a Hak5 kit. Hight ex­plained that the kit “con­tains a USB Rub­ber Ducky, a WiFi Pineap­ple Nano and a LAN Tur­tle. The WiFi Pineap­ple does not look like a pineap­ple, but is a per­sonal router of sorts, in the way that it can be used as a man-in-the-mid­dle, and using this type of at­tack, one can steal cre­den­tials to what­ever site the vic­tim vis­its.”


The CSM Cy­ber­hawks com­pete at the Mary­land Com­mu­nity Col­lege Cy­ber Com­pe­ti­tion held April 7 at the Mont­gomery Com­mu­nity Col­lege Ger­man­town Cam­pus, in­clud­ing, far left then clock­wise around the ta­ble, team mem­bers Cody Hight, Caleb Craft and Don Price, sit­ting with CSM club mem­ber James Graves, who did not com­pete.

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