BROOKLYN, N.Y., Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Students from high schools through doctoral programs throughout North America, the Middle East, North Africa, and India competed in the final rounds of the world's largest student-run security games, the 13th annual New York UniversityCyber Security Awareness Week (NYU CSAW), held November 12-14, 2016.
For the first time in the history of NYU CSAW, the final round of contests expanded beyond NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Downtown Brooklyn to regional hubs at NYU Abu Dhabi - for finalists from North Africa and the Middle East - and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT Kanpur). Finalists bested more than 10,000 students from more than 100 countries who competed remotely in preliminary rounds of six separate competitions. The best high school cyber sleuths tangled in the final rounds for over $1 million in scholarships. Additionally, the NYUCenter for Cyber Security will offer doctoral scholarships and fellowships to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering to college-level finalists who prevailed against student hackers and researchers at NYU CSAW's three hubs. Capture the FlagFor the signature event of NYU CSAW, Capture the Flag (CTF), 34 teams from a preliminary field of more than 2,500 teams earned finalist slots in Brooklyn, Abu Dhabi, and Kanpur. Fifteen undergraduate teams in the United States, eight in the United Arab Emirates, and 11 in India competed in notoriously difficult final-round hacking challenges that lasted 36 consecutive hours. In Brooklyn, a CTF challenge created by tech firm Vector 35 required contestants to reverse engineer a derivation of the popular Pokémon Go game. Players had to hack the game so that they could amass in hours a score that would normally take weeks or even months to achieve. "To do that requires real-world network analysis and program reverse-engineering skills," said Jordan Wiens, CTF judge and co-founder of Vector 35. "These are the same kinds of tools the data security world has a dramatic need for right now." Unemployment in cybersecurity hovers near zero, and according to estimates by Cisco, there are one million cybersecurity job vacancies this year alone, including more than 200,000 in the United States. Frost & Sullivan, in an often-cited report, predicts 1.5 million unfilled security positions worldwide by 2020. The team 1064 Shellphish from the University of California (Santa Barbara) featured brothers Brandon and Andrew Dutcher. Andrew had competed in the CTF team 1064CBread, which won second place in 2015, when all members were graduates or students of Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. John Grosen, who was also on that original 1064CBread team, is now a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and competed with MIT's CTF team Don't Hack Alone. His brother Paul, who competed last year as a freshman on Dos Pueblos High School's High School Forensics (HSF) team 1064CBread, returned this year as well. The team became the first HSF competitor to place in NYU CSAW's rigorous Department of Homeland Security Quiz. For the eighth consecutive year in Brooklyn, a team from Carnegie Mellon took top honors in the CSAW CTF. NYU Tandon Winners:First place: PPP1, Carnegie Mellon University,PittsburghTeam members: Tim Becker, Corwin de Boor, Samuel Kim, Matthew SavageSecond place: RPISEC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New YorkTeam members: Nick Burnett, Joshua Ferrell, Kareem El-Faramawi, Branden ClarkThird place: Batman's Kitchen, University of Washington, Seattle Team members: Dan Arens, Stanley Hsieh, Alex Kirchhoff, Bo WangNYU Abu Dhabi Winners:First place: dcua2, Mundiapolis University, MoroccoTeam members: Amine Cherrai, Bilal Kardadou, Ilyas Rahmani, Mohammed BelcaidSecond place: MrAdmin, ENSIAS, Morocco Team members: Anass Bouchnafa, Azzeddine Djekmani, Oualid Zaazaa, Yaakoub NajihThird place: DC21321, Bordj Bou Arreridj University,AlgeriaTeam members: Adel Merabet, Mohamed Zehraoui, Ramzi Bourahli IIT Kanpur Winners: First place : InfoSecIITR, Indian Institute of Technology, RoorkeeSecond place : Bi0s, Amrita UniversityThird Place : d4rkc0de, Indian Institute of Technology, DelhiEmbedded Security ChallengeThis year's hardware security competition — the most difficult hacking event at NYU CSAW — brought five finalists to Brooklyn, seven to NYU Abu Dhabi and two to IIT Kanpur. The challenge was designed by a team of top NYU security faculty and students mentored by NYU Assistant Professor Michail Maniatakos and Nektarios Tsoutsos, a computer science doctoral candidate studying under Maniatakos at NYU Abu Dhabi. Using special chipsets supplied by CSAW sponsor Intel, teams were tasked with modifying a configurable microchip to make it immune to memory corruption, a common attack used by hackers. To qualify for the final round, teams submitted papers describing the techniques they would use to enhance a basic chip design so that memory corruption could not harm the system.