Interdisciplinary student team wins Cyber Storm competition

“The Tower,” a team of computer science and cyber engineering students, earned top honors at Louisiana Tech University’s 12th annual Cyber Storm event. The team, which included Joseph Brown, cyber engineering student from Covington, Louisiana; Jacob Dumontier, cyber engineering student from New Orleans, Louisiana; Seth Gautreaux, cyber engineering student from Raceland, Louisiana; Cameron Mitchell, computer science student from Bossier City, Louisiana; Nikolas Morgan, cyber engineering student from Sherwood, Arkansas; Carter Ray, cyber engineering student from Magnolia, Arkansas; Kyle Rouselle, computer science student from Luling, Louisiana; and Austin Scioneaux, cyber engineering student from Garyville, Louisiana, won the competition by developing the best defensive and offensive cyber strategies.

students work to solve problems during Cyber StormOverall, the ten competing teams scored millions of points, and “The Tower,” beat the second-place team, “The Chariot,” by fewer than 20,000 points, earning 759,247 points versus “The Chariot’s” 739,747 points.

Cyber Storm, a daylong hackfest designed and facilitated by the Computer Science and Cyber Engineering programs at Louisiana Tech, provides students in advanced computer science and cyber engineering courses with hands-on experience hacking into enemy systems while protecting their own networks, preparing them for careers in cyber defense.

The 2021 Cyber Storm event was the first held in the Integrated Engineering and Science Building, and teams spread out on the open floor, while attendees were able to watch live scoring from multiple screens.

Students learn of a new challenge in Cyber Storm.All 10 student teams (The Chariot, The Empress, The Fool, The Hermit, The Hierophant, The Magician, The Moon, The Star, The Sun, and The Tower) showcased their cyber security skills to industry professionals, event sponsors, students, faculty, and staff.  They successfully completed challenges issued by an administrative team led by Dr. Ankunda Kiremire, program chair and lecturer of computer science, Dr. Andrey Timofeyev, lecturer of computer science, Mr. John Spurgeon, instructor of computer science, and Dr. Jean Gourd, Cyber Storm founder and former program chair of computer science.

Opportunities for teams to score points included cryptography and steganography puzzles, wireless network access problems, scavenger hunts, “King of the Hill” challenges, “Capture the Flag” challenges, and hacking and defending black boxes with unknown vulnerabilities.

“The competition allowed the students to showcase their various skill sets in multiple areas across the cyber security domain,” Kiremire said. “It allowed them to lean on each other in teams to learn and adapt in multiple high-stakes scenarios and figure out ways to solve challenges that they might have never seen the likes of before that day, but which they could eventually solve given the background knowledge they had received over the quarter.”

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