COES students score big in national digital forensics competition

Feb 16, 2014 | Engineering and Science

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Two teams of students from Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science have placed in the top ten of the 2013 Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Digital Forensics Challenge.

James Poore, Nathan Wallace and Stanislav Ponomarev comprised Louisiana Tech’s graduate team, known as “0x3BADD00D5atLaTech,” and finished in second place out of the 13 in the U.S. graduate team division, third place out of 26 teams in the graduate overall division, 20th place out of 188 teams in the U.S. teams division and in 28th place overall out of 317 participating teams in the Grand Champion division.

Louisiana Tech’s undergraduate team, consisting of Sean Semple, Christian Dean, Tommy Bozeman and Nick Henry, and known as “CyberACE4LaTech,” finished in fourth place out of 34 teams in the U.S. undergraduate team division, fifth place out of 50 teams in the undergraduate overall division, 19th place out of 188 in the U.S. teams division and in 26th place overall out of the 317 participating teams in the Grand Champion division.

All of the students prepared for the competition in their spare time and did not receive class credit.  This was the first year for these students to compete in this event.  Dr. Travis Atkinson, assistant professor of computer science and cyber engineering, supervised the students and said “they did an excellent job.”

Students in the competition and in Louisiana Tech’s computer science program learn highly marketable skills such as algorithm design, programming techniques, and state-of-the-art concepts in computer systems.  Cyber engineering students learn skills in mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering with focus on security in cyberspace.

The 2013 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge is a year-long competition based on 41 individual scenario-based, progressive level exercises as a call to the digital forensics community to pioneer new investigative tools, techniques and methodologies.  The competition seeks to highlight the shortage of cyber professionals, establish relationships within the digital forensics community, resolve issues facing the digital forensics community, and develop new digital forensics tools, techniques, and methodologies.

DC3 provides digital forensics support to the Department of Defense and to other law enforcement agencies. Its main focus is in criminal, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and fraud investigations from the Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations (DCIOs), counterintelligence groups, and various Inspector General groups.  The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is the executive agent of DC3. Written by Catherine Fraser –