For immediate release…
Tuesday – May 7, 2013

- The Northern Kentucky University student cyber security team won first place at the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) Cyberwars invitational competition May 4. The competition was an eight-hour online battle that combined offense and defense.

The CSSIA is supported by the National Science Foundation and provides students with real-world experiences in the field of cybersecurity. The nine teams invited to this Cyberwars competition included some of the best teams in the Midwest, including the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology team, which placed third nationally in the 2013 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The University of Louisville, which has done well in regional competitions, also participated.

Lee Epling, a sophomore computer information technology major, said the competition was intense. “At one point, six other teams were ganging up on NKU and simultaneously attacked our servers,” Epling said. “We hit back and were able to keep the highest percentage of up-time.”
This victory comes on the heels of NKU’s third-place finish in the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in March. NKU placed higher than any other public institution among 50 teams competing in the Midwest.

The NKU team is comprised of Josh Bemerer, Sean Benson, Lee Epling, Connor Gerome, Brandon Hinkel, Daniel Kirschner, Jack Lannon and Brandon Warner. The team used Griffin Hall’s state-of-the-art virtualization lab to connect to the competition network. Team alumni Ty Braunwart and Kevin Childers helped set up the network and virtual machines for the team’s intensive practice sessions before the competition.

Cybersecurity is one of the focal areas of NKU’s College of Informatics. Computer Science faculty member Dr. Yi Hu has coached the team for the past five years. “We have our students prepare an offensive cyber warfare strategy as a way to educate them in ethical hacking skills, which are needed to actively defend critical IT infrastructure,” said Dr. Hu.

Because the field of cybersecurity changes so quickly, competitions are taking on an increasingly important role as a way for students to demonstrate their skills to potential employers and for universities to ensure that their security curricula are up-to-date.

### NKU ###

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