Student cybersecurity team posts two wins in one weekend

WashU's cybersecurity team poses with their trophies after placing first at the GHECC CyberCup. Submitted photo
The McKelvey School of Engineering’s cybersecurity team won first prize at two cybersecurity competitions Nov. 15-17. The team took part in a capture-the-flag challenge during STLCyberCon Nov. 15 and the two-day Gateway Higher Education Cybersecurity Consortium (GHECC) CyberCup competition, held at COLLAB in the Cortex Innovation Community Nov. 15-17.

“All of the teams did an incredible job in the competitions, and our team is very humbled and honored to have won both events,” said Elaine Cole, the team’s captain. “I’m pleasantly surprised by these wins, but I know we fielded a strong team and came in prepared and wanting to win.”

The STLCyberCon event, hosted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was a “Jeopardy”-style capture-the-flag competition during which teams completed challenges including full-system exploitation, information gathering and lock picking. Participating teams came from both academia and industry.

Competing WashU team members were:
  • Cole, a student in the Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS) program studying computer science and cybersecurity
  • Zach Heller, a master’s student studying computer science
  • Zack Kaplan, a sophomore majoring in computer science
  • JeongMin Lim, a senior majoring in computer science
  • York Liu, a sophomore majoring in computer science
  • Jarek Millburg, a master’s student studying cybersecurity
  • Ighor Tavares, a student in the BS/MS program studying computer science and cybersecurity
  • Ryan Xu, a sophomore majoring in computer engineering
The GHECC CyberCup was a more traditional hackathon competition and was sponsored by Mastercard Inc. Teams were asked to develop a solution to protect senior citizens from cyberfraud. The WashU team focused specifically on telemarketing fraud.

Team members who took part in this event were:
  • Cole
  • Pranav Maddula, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering
  • Patrick Naughton, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering
  • Yiheng Yao, a first-year student majoring in computer science
  • Yipeng Wang, a sophomore majoring in computer science
  • Xu
Formed this past spring, the cybersecurity team is one of McKelvey Engineering’s newest student organizations. Earlier this year, the team took first place at another capture-the-flag competition sponsored by Deloitte.

“I’ve been with our WashU team since we first formed, and it’s been an incredible learning experience,” Cole said. “We have members who specialize in many aspects of information security — including cryptography, reverse engineering and network/web analysis — which gives us a very strong foundation. As we’ve grown as a team, so has our collective skillset, and this weekend was a great opportunity to show how far we’ve come.”