UMUC Cybersecurity Team Is #1 In North America, Advances To Global Cyberlympics In Spain

UMUC Cyber Padawans were ranked #1 after each of the three rounds in the North America Regional Competition

Adelphi, Md. (Sept. 8, 2014) — The Cyber Padawans—a team of cybersecurity students, faculty and alumni from University of Maryland University College (UMUC)—finished first in the North America region, qualifying for the Global Cyberlympics competition to be held in Barcelona, Spain, on September 29.

The Cyberlympics is an online ethical hacking, computer network defense and digital forensics competition, dedicated to finding the top cybersecurity teams in the world. The UMUC Cyber Padawans qualified for the global championship after winning each of three rounds in the North America regional.

Members of the UMUC team included Matt Matchen (alumni, BS in Global Business and Public Policy; team captain), Armando Quintananieves (alumni, MS in IT with Information Assurance concentration and BS in Computer Networks and Security), John Arneson (student in the undergraduate program in cybersecurity), Ben Heise (student in the undergraduate computer networks and security program), and Robert Murphy (adjunct faculty member in the computer networks and security program).

“We had a great time coming together at the UMUC Cyber Padawans laboratory, where we got to compete and try our hands in a very challenging environment that was full of surprises,” said Ben Heise. “I always learn something new from my teammates, each of whom have grown and developed an extensive skillset. We are all very much looking forward to representing UMUC in Barcelona.”

Added Matt Matchen, the team captain: “We’re thankful UMUC supports our efforts in competing against national and sometimes global teams.”

“Winning the North America region and reaching the global finals is a testament to the world-class talent that is part of our cybersecurity academic programs—faculty, students and alumni,” said Amjad Ali, associate vice president and cybersecurity advisor to the president at UMUC.

“The Cyber Padawans should be very proud of what they accomplished,” said Jeff Tjiputra, academic director of the undergraduate cybersecurity program and the team’s coach. “They did not just sneak into the global championship; they were impressive in finishing first in each of the three rounds of the North American competition.”

This is the second time that the Cyber Padawans will represent North America in the Global Cyberlympics. In 2012, UMUC finished in second place among eight teams that competed for the world championship and also finished first in the North America regional competition. Five members from 2012 are competing on this year’s team.

The UMUC Cyber Padawans’ run of success also includes winning the collegiate and professional divisions of the Maryland Cyber Challenge in 2013.

UMUC has more than 5,000 students enrolled in cybersecurity bachelor’s and master’s programs. More than 80 students compete in various cybersecurity competitions throughout the academic year.

At the world finals, the Cyber Padawans will take part in a six-hour Capture the Flag-style (CTF) tournament. The CTF format is designed as a head-to-head challenge for both cyber offensive and defensive players. The game works as a “capture then defend” scenario in which participants compete against each other to be the first to gain and then retain control of one or more centrally available targets. To make it to the world finals, the Cyber Padawans took part in three previous competitions based on forensics, penetration testing and computer network defense.

The goal of the Global CyberLympics is to raise awareness towards increased education and ethics in information security through a series of cyber competitions that encompass forensics, ethical hacking and defense.

The Global CyberLympics is a not-for-profit initiative of the EC-Council Foundation supported by the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Its goal is to raise awareness towards increased education and ethics in information security through a series of cyber competitions that encompass forensics, ethical hacking and defence. The mission statement of the Global CyberLympics is “Unifying Global Cyber Defence through the Games.” For more information, please visit http://www.cyberlympics.org.

About University of Maryland University College

University of Maryland University College (UMUC), headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland, is the largest public university in the United States, serving 84,000 students and offering 95 undergraduate and graduate programs online and on-site. In addition, UMUC is one of the largest public providers of online higher education in the nation. UMUC boasts a 65-year history of service to the military and currently enrolls an estimated 45,000 military servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents each year. The university offers face-to-face instruction at 20 locations throughout Maryland and educational services in 28 countries and territories and more than 150 locations worldwide, including the Middle East. UMUC is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland, an agency of the State of Maryland.