Cyber Champions Again! UMUC Wins First Cyber DiploHack Competition

Policy-oriented challenge featured teams from Oxford University, Georgetown and George Washington Universities

Adelphi, Md. (April 1, 2015) University of Maryland University College’s Cyber Padawans have captured first place in another cybersecurity competition, this time winning the first Cyber DiploHack, a policy-oriented event on March 26–27, sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.

UMUC defeated five other university teams, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Oxford University (United Kingdom), Technical University Delft/University of Leiden (Netherlands) and Chaire Castex (France).

“Winning this competition demonstrates the strength of our academic programs not just in the technical aspects of cyber, but also the policy side,” said Jeff Tjiputra, coach of the Cyber Padawans and program chair and collegiate associate professor of Computer Networks and Security and Cybersecurity at UMUC. “As governments and industry grapple with cyber threats, policy development in this area is crucial to balancing safety, security and privacy.”

The DiploHack championship continues a run of success for the UMUC Cyber Padawans that began with winning the 2014 Global CyberLympics, the 2014 Maryland Cyber Challenge and now the DiploHack competition.

Members of the DiploHack championship team from UMUC include team captain Patrick Gill, Wilbert Francis, Nathaniel Davis, Will Koerber and Brandon Chen. Valorie King, Ph.D., collegiate associate professor for cybersecurity and information assurance at UMUC, served as mentor to the team during the competition.

The event was an intensive, scenario-based, policy hackathon designed to develop new approaches to cybersecurity and cyber capacity building. Teams applied creative ideation processes commonly used in technology design to solve a cybersecurity policy challenge.

Teams were asked to respond to a cyberattack on the small, fictional country named “Zambonia,” which crippled the country’s banking and communications infrastructure.

UMUC’s team has been invited to the Global Conference on Cyberspace in The Hague on April 16–17 to further develop their ideas and solutions. The final result will serve as discussion points for the Global Cyber Resilience Initiative to be launched at the conference.