Poly to hold Security Awareness Week

Tegan Mosugu
NYU Poly’s annual cyber security competition gives opportunities for students to get involved in computer science.

For the 13th year in a row, NYU Poly’s Department of Computer Science will be hosting Cyber Security Awareness Week, the largest student-run event in the nation of its kind. From Nov. 12-14, high school and college students will participate in intense case competitions and an industry career fair, with the week culminating in an awards ceremony.

In an effort to draw more high school students to the High School Forensics Challenge, CSAW is now offering webinars and online education modules to high school students in need of assistance with their cybersecurity skills, options that were not previously offered. The forensics challenge is one of six CSAW-hosted challenges that over 20,000 high school and college students around the world participate in.

Mayor Bill De Blasio recently announced a 10-year deadline for all New York City Public Schools to offer computer science courses to all students from elementary to high school. For 12 years now, New York University has been maximizing the potential high school students can have in the fast-growing technology sector, and the new opportunities promoted by CSAW encourage more student to get involved at a younger age.

Professor Nasir Memon, head of the cyber security awareness competition, said he believes that to be a better security engineer, one must have the drive to learn new things and to perform in the presence of an attack, and the week will hopefully encourage more students to find that drive.

“The goal of CSAW is to inform students across the country and continent about how cyber security is an interesting field and potentially choose cyber security as a career,” Memon said.

The most popular event of CSAW is the capture the flag competition, a realistic offensive security competition in which the selected finalists face off — some alone, some in teams — in competitions that involve breaking into servers provided by the lab. The competitions are designed to not only test their skills, but strengthen their computer science knowledge and tool set.

Kathleen Hamilton, Director of Marketing and Communications at NYU Poly, said having the world’s largest student cyber security games not only helps the university but also the city.

“CSAW and our cyber security program are tightly linked to the NYC Security Community, with many of the top experts acting as judges and mentors, helping to develop the challenges for the students,” Hamilton said. “Many NYC area firms turn to CSAW to recruit top talent, which is vital to the growth of the City’s High Tech Sector.”

Ian Thomas Butler, a Poly junior studying computer science, believes that the cyber security program is heading in the right direction.

“During my three years at NYU, the program has continued its tradition of excellence,” Butler said. “I have witnessed many new faces in the lab and in the coming years, I believe they will do great things.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 21 print edition. Email Tegan Mosugu at [email protected]

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