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Cyber Security Competition Pushes Students To Test Security Mettle

CSAW, the Cyber Security Awareness Week event hosted by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn, is ramping up for a November competition. The event challenges students from around the world to engage in multiple activities designed to test their security mettle and boost their understanding of the field.

For example, the Kaspersky Lab North American Cup will bring together students, scientists, engineers, and researchers to present and discuss issues relating to cybercrime. Students in that event are asked to write a paper on some aspect of emerging threats, cloud security, corporate infrastructure security, raising security awareness, and related topics. A program committee will evaluate the papers, and the best of them will earn their authors cash awards and prizes, along with the opportunity to attend CSAW with all expenses paid.

AT&T is hosting a similar contest, but its entries focus on the application of security technology, the implementation of systems, and lessons learned. It woos entrants from previously published research in order to name the top published student research paper of the year. The 2011 winner, Andrew White, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote on "Phonotactic Reconstruction of Encrypted VoIP Conversations: Hookt on fon-iks," which unveiled new privacy threats against voice-over-IP communications.

A "Capture the Flag" event is designed to evaluate the application security skills of undergraduate students who are trying to get involved in security. Competitors attack vulnerable applications and solve offensive challenges.

A high school competition brings together a team of one to three students, along with a teacher or mentor, to investigate a fake murder case. Armed with a disk image and other evidence, teams seek out clues that will help them discover what happened in the crime. Finalists will use their evidence to compete in the final stage of the forensics challenge, which takes place at NYU-Poly.

Two additional contests--the Department of Homeland Security Quiz and the Adobe Security Awareness Video Challenge--are open to all students, from high school to graduate school.

Participation in all of CSAW's events is free. However, applicants do need to pre-register and submit their initial work in October. (Each event has its own deadline.) Those who submit papers may be asked to prepare a presentation in case they're chosen as finalists to participate in the three-day conference taking place at NY-Poly in November.

Additional regional competitions are being held around the world. The championship stage of this year's conference will take place in the United Kingdom in May 2013.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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