A Cal Poly Pomona student cybersecurity team placed third in at the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) international finals Jan. 7-10.
During the event, 15 teams used their hacking skills as penetration testers for a fictitious small city. They assessed the security of the network and its energy grid infrastructure, managing a hydroelectric dam, a nuclear power plant, and a wind farm system connected to a regional power utility company.
The team’s work included hacking into fabricated computer networks, evaluating weaknesses, responding to client issues and monitoring systems connected with the city’s dam to make sure it didn’t over- or under-fill.
The competition allowed Cal Poly Pomona team members Joseph Dillon, Andy Chiang, Alexey Tselevich, Brice Lauer, Randy Salazar and Silas Shen to experience a day in the life of a penetration tester — the in-demand security professionals hired to test and evaluate an organization’s computer systems and networks to make sure malicious hackers can’t get in.
Prior to the event, the team outranked more than 100 North American universities to earn a place in the finals. They practiced their cyber skills through on campus organizations and student-run centers, including the Mitchell C. Hill Data Center, Malware Analysis Lab and Security Operations Center. CPP students have placed third in this competition two consecutive years.
“As I start my professional career out of undergrad, I will look back upon the skills that I have built up by being part of competitions such as this which emulate real-world experiences,” Chiang said.
Judges and sponsors from the security industry evaluated the performance of competitions in real-time. Students had the opportunity to meet experts and distribute resumes to various industries, including IBM Security, Hurricane Labs and the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade.