April 9, 2018

University Alabama Wins 2018 SEC Student Cyber Challenge Competition

The student team from the University of Alabama won 2018 SEC Student Cyber Challenge
The student team from the University of Alabama won 2018 SEC Student Cyber Challenge

By: Torie Johnson
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Alabama won first place in the SEC Student Cyber Challenge at the 2018 SEC Academic Conference being held at Auburn University and entitled Cyber Security: A Shared Responsibility. Members of the winning team were Kevin Poorman, Austin Lucas, James Woods and Austin Hose.

The competition highlighted a real-world cyber security problem presented by Equifax, and teams had nearly 48 hours to develop a solution in a “hackathon” style challenge. Each SEC university was eligible to enter a team, which could include graduate and undergraduate students and required faculty oversight.

“It has been wonderful seeing all of the different views that the students have come together to ultimately develop a system that was deemed the best in the SEC,” said the Alabama team advisor, Dr. Matthew Hudnall. “We had a great group with students from criminal justice, management information systems and cyber security. So, it was a very diverse team representing the University of Alabama.”

To kick off the challenge, executives from Equifax, the Atlanta-based global information solutions company, explained the simulated problem, and teams then worked at their own pace to devise a solution. Their final submissions were judged by Equifax and other industry experts who ultimately selected Alabama as the winner for the team’s innovative offering.

“This was a great learning experience. We brought different things to the table, and it was interesting to see how my teammates could help me learn about how networks connect and talk to each other. That was really fun, said criminal justice major, Kevin Poorman.

One of his teammates, Austin Hose, a cyber security major, added, “This was a really long two days, but it was interesting working as a team. With our different skills coming together, we were able to present a good idea to solve the problem we were given.”

The University of Missouri finished second in the competition, followed by host Auburn. All three teams received prizes from Equifax.

In addition to the cyber challenge, students were also invited to present their cyber security research during the poster exhibition. The posters were judged by all conference attendees and members of the event advisory board, and the top three submissions were announced during the awards ceremony at the Auburn Arena.

“The poster exhibitors offered an array of research for SEC Academic Conference attendees to consider and judge in the area of cyber security,” said Dr. Torie A. Johnson, SECU Executive Director. “The research presented ranged from securing USB to cloud computing to blockchain technology. The breath of opportunities to address this significant issue was on display.”

Grant Hernandez from the University of Florida won the top award, and his poster was titled “Attention Spanned: Comprehensive Vulnerability Analysis of AT Commands within the Android Ecosystem.” In second place was Dave “Jing” Tian, also from UF, with a project called “USB Security: Attacks, Defenses, and the Future.” Lastly, a five-person team from Texas A&M University finished third.

Ending on Tuesday, April 10, the SEC Academic Conference included sessions on computer and communication technology; the economic and physical systems that are controlled by technology; and the policies and laws that govern and protect information stored, transmitted and processed with technology. It is one of several programs designed to showcase the academic achievements and accomplishments of SEC administrators, faculty and students.

Below is a list of the winning SEC Student Cyber Challenge teams and the poster exhibition winners.

SEC Student Cyber Challenge
First Place: University of Alabama – Kevin Poorman, Austin Lucas, James Woods and Austin Hose; Dr. Matthew Hudnall (advisor)

Second Place: University of Missouri – Joseph Chandler, Dmitrii Chemodanov, Daniel Dunn, David Emily, Andrew Krall and Trevor Leach; Dr. Prasad Calyam (advisor)

Third Place: Auburn University – Haven Barnes, Austin Hancock, Allen Kinzalow, Jeramy Lochner and Lee Vanrell; Dr. Dean Hendrix (advisor)

Research Poster Exhibition
1st Place: Grant Hernandez, University of Florida
“Attention Spanned: Comprehensive Vulnerability Analysis of AT Commands within the Android Ecosystem”

2nd Place: Dave “Jing” Tian, University of Florida
“USB Security: Attacks, Defenses, and the Future”

3rd Place: Colton Riedel, Tyler Holmes, Guoyu Fu, DJ Beyette and Jyh-Charn Liu, Texas A&M University
“Securing Timing and GNSS Signals for Critical Infrastructure”