University at Buffalo students take third in cybersecurity competition

The University at Buffalo team (left to right). Back row: Anthony Siracuse, Stephen James, David Murray. Middle row: Peter Fowler, Nick Brase, Michael Siracuse, Aaron Fiebelkorn. Front row: Stefan Jagroop, James Droste, Jered Geist.

Release Date: April 6, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nine University at Buffalo students in management, computer science and electrical engineering won third place in the Northeast Collegiate Cyberdefense Competition, a cybersecurity challenge held March 17-19 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The team was made up of UB School of Management students Aaron Fiebelkorn and Jered Geist of Amherst, Stefan Jagroop of Jamaica, Anthony Siracuse of Sheldon and Michael Siracuse of Clarence, as well as UB Computer Science and Engineering Department students Nick Brase of Hope Mills, NC, James Droste of Nanuet, and Stephen James of the Bronx and UB Department of Electrical Engineering student Peter Fowler of Orchard Park.

Each member of the UB team received a trophy. Teams from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Northeastern University took first and second place, respectively. Other finalists hailed from Champlain College, Harvard University, Syracuse University, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Utica College and Westchester Community College.

“In addition to giving up the first few days of their spring break to compete at the event, these students spent countless hours researching, learning, practicing and working together to prepare for the competition,” says Dave Murray, clinical associate professor of management science and systems, who served as the team’s faculty coach. “As an educator, it is gratifying to work with some of the brightest and hardest working students at UB.”

The team was selected to compete at this event based on their performance during a qualifying round in January.

At the competition, the teams posed as system administrators and security operations experts for a fictitious interactive fantasy baseball startup. The teams had to defend their computer networks from professional penetration testers who attempted to scan, infiltrate and capture files from their network. 

“I’m proud of how we performed,” says Droste, the team captain. “We met weekly to practice, and it definitely paid off.”

Professionals and representatives from industry served as competition judges, who assessed the team’s ability to maintain network and service availability.

Participation in the competition was supported in part by the Federal Cyber Service program of the National Science Foundation, under the guidance of the UB Center of Excellence in Information Systems Assurance Research and Education and directed by Shambhu Upadhyaya, professor of computer science and engineering.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

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kjmanne@buffalo.edu