Tennessee Tech’s CEROC Hosts CPTC Central Region Competition for Second Year

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Eric Brown, elbrown@tntech.edu, 931-372-3519

Cookeville, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech University hosted the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition – Central Region on October 10-11, 2020.  This represents the fourth year that Tennessee Tech has participated in the event and the second year to host the regional competition. Like so many other events, COVID-19 has changed the way events are conducted. This year’s event was completely virtual with some participating teams having members working from different locations. It was truly a distributed event. The top winning team from this region will join the winners from the other CPTC regions around the world, which include Canada and the Middle East, for the international competition. Seven additional teams will be selected at large to compete in the international competition.

Competing in the Central Region in addition to Tennessee Tech are the University of Northern Iowa, Kansas State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Tulsa, University of Texas at San Antonio, Southern Methodist University, Purdue University, North Dakota State University, and Drexel University. IBM served as the national sponsor for the event. The event was locally sponsored by CEROC. “We are excited to be re-selected as the host site for this regional competition. CEROC hosts a number of outreach events throughout the year. We enjoy events like this where we can meet with our peer institutions even if it is only virtual,” said Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director.

As described by the organization, “The Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) provides a vehicle for up and coming cybersecurity student teams to build and hone the skills required to effectively discover, triage, and mitigate critical security vulnerabilities. This competition is unique in offering a simulated environment that mimics real world networks. The competition focuses on improving the security posture of a fictitious organization and reporting on risks in a manner that is similar to a real professional environment.” 

Russell Butturini, vice president and security architect at Cadence Bank, a regional commercial-focused bank with 99 branches across the Southeast, provided the keynote address for the region’s award ceremony. Butturini, a long time friend to CEROC, encouraged the students to always be curious, seek to grow personal capacities, and seek to grow stronger teams through collaborative, immersive learning opportunities such as CPTC. Butturini also held a Q&A session immediately following the keynote address.

The competition incorporates skill sets involving the use of technology, accurate communication, and effective collaboration. Lucas Morris, a CPTC director, said “there is nothing more exciting than to watch people grow. In my 15 years of serving in security consulting leadership, the biggest challenge for most new professionals is not deep technical skills, but soft skills. Competitions like these help participants to develop those important soft skill sets and prepare them for their future career in the cybersecurity sector. An individual who is passionate about education and has the ability to communicate is incredibly valuable.”

Ten teams competed in this year’s event. The winners for the 2020 regional competition were Drexel University (1st place), Southern Methodist University (2nd place), and Tennessee Tech University (3rd place). The Tennessee Tech University team, by virtue of their incredible performance, is in the running for a wildcard selection for the international competition. Final decisions will be made once all regions have completed their respective events.

Tennessee Tech’s CPTC team hard at work

Participating in this year’s Tennessee Tech team are Austin Brown, Max Layer, Sam Neel, Jacob Sweeten, Austin Tice, and Kaitlyn Carroll.  Travis Lee, Cybersecurity Technologist with CEROC, served as the team coach as well as handling technology logistics for the event.  Eric Brown, assistant director for CEROC, noted “This group is just another example of the high-quality, student professionals which enrich our center’s work.  We are very proud of their accomplishments both in achievement and professional growth.”

CEROC (https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc) is a NSA-designated Center ofAcademic Excellence – Cyber Defense and a CyberCorps SFS participating school since December 2015.  Located in the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech, CEROC offers a wide variety of services and programs across the pillars of education, research and outreach.  Dr. Ambareen Siraj is the founding director of the center who leads its education, research, and outreach activities.  Dr. Siraj is also the founder of the Women in Cybersecurity conference and organization (https://www.wicys.org/).

More information about the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition can be found at https://nationalcptc.org. More information about the Central Region Competition can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc/outreach/cptc/.

Tennessee Tech CEROC hosts Virtual 2020 CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Bootcamp

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(contact Eric Brown, elbrown@tntech.edu, (931) 372-3519 for more information)
August 21, 2020

COOKEVILLE, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) conducted its 5th annual CyberCorps SFS New Scholars Bootcamp.  The 2020 CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Bootcamp at Tennessee Tech University was held August 20-21, 2020. Like so many events, the bootcamp was conducted virtually due to COVID-19 precautions.  As a result of this change, more students were able to participate in this year’s event than ever before. Approximately 275 students from across the nation attended this two-day workshop to prepare themselves for their new roles as CyberCorps SFS scholars.

Participants were from across the nation.

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program has been in existence since 2000, the result of Presidential Directive 63 / National Plan for Information Systems Protection in 1998.  The program/grant is jointly managed by the National Science Foundation and the Office for Personnel Management.  Through this program, grants are offered to qualifying four-year institutions to provide scholarships for rising college juniors.  The scholarships provide full tuition, books, professional development funds, and health insurance stipend.

Participants engaged in a number of activities and discussions with federal agency representatives.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director, the bootcamp provides essential training for rising CyberCorps scholars in variety of research and related soft skills to help them be successful in their cybersecurity education journey.  Skills training will include communication and technical writing skills, ethics, time management, personal finance, service learning, and federal resume writing.  Participants will be introduced to the expectations and norms of academic research allowing them to contribute to cybersecurity research as they prepare for their future cybersecurity careers.  Participants will also have the opportunity to hear and interact with speakers from a variety of local and federal agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management, gaining insight into the cybersecurity needs at the federal level and better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an SFS scholar.

“The bootcamp provides these students an important starting point for their CyberCorps SFS career.  We receive numerous ‘thank you’s’ from our attendees when we meet at the SFS Job Fair in January.  They tell us that the camp is part of their success story.” stated Eric Brown, CEROC’s assistant director.  “Watching these future cyber professionals light up when they begin to understand what career paths are available and how important their role will be in the future defense of their country’s critical infrastructure makes all of our efforts worthwhile.”, commented Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC Director.

CEROC is no stranger to these types of events.  Throughout the year, the center engages over 2,000 students and external researchers / program managers during programs such as the GenCyber Summer Camp, GenCyber on Wheels, on-site presentations, career fairs, and visiting focus groups.  The collaborative work in these areas is crucial to addressing future cybersecurity issues both in application and workforce pipeline development. 

CEROC: Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on informal education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry. CEROC is an NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee, and host of the only DoD Cyber Scholarship program site in the state placing the center among the top tier of such centers in the nation. CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity initiative, the largest of its type focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce. More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu. CEROC can also be found on social media at Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: TNTechCEROC and LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/company/TNTechCEROC.

Virtual Cyber Discovery Camp @ CEROC

COVID-19 has created many challenges for institutions organizing summer camps and meetings where youth traditionally gather to take advantage of learning during the long summer break. For the Cybersecurity Education Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech, this challenge came when they had to cancel their awarded 2020 GenCyber student camp with NSA directives. The camp historically brought together high school students from across the state to participate in a week of cybersecurity activities such as Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions, cybersecurity exercises, and career option/professional development discussions. However, with support from the College of Engineering, CEROC decided to move forward with their own initiative this summer – a time which is especially challenging to students with many summer opportunities being cancelled.

The Virtual Cyber Discovery camp (https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc/outreach/cyber_discovery_camp.php), which was organized to be delivered via Zoom is a combination of elements from past GenCyber camps, GenCyber on Wheels mobile expeditions, and on-site cyber discovery days featuring activities and exercises developed at CEROC by its leadership and student ambassadors. Two camps were planned: one in June and one in July, and both to be conducted across three half-day adventures. Students completing all three days of the camp would be given a certificate from CEROC. The June 2020 camp was attended by fifty high school students and a group of ten high-performing students won a Raspberry Pi 4 single board computer for excellence in multiple events. While there is always a desire to deliver face-to-face camp opportunities, the Virtual Cyber Discovery camp provided a first of its kind opportunity to reach out to a larger audience providing an engaging opportunity for students that might otherwise would have had no camp opportunities due to COVID-19 cancellations.

Rather than just working with high school students in the state of Tennessee, this year’s virtual camp also featured students from coast to coast including an international student who participated from their home country at 1:30am local time. Among the states represented were Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. With multiple grade level represented, the bulk of the students were in the 10th – 12th grade with an equal distribution of genders represented. For some of the students, the camp was their first exposure to cybersecurity topics at that depth.

Virtual Cyber Discovery Camp Attendees
High school participants in CEROC’s Virtual Cyber Discovery Camp.

CTFs were among the most popular parts of the camp. The students engaged in traditional and virtual unplugged versions of the cyber capture the flag games. Cyber Jeopardy (fashioned after the popular game show) was also a hit among the participants. While all of the activities provided entertainment and exposure to cybersecurity concepts, the cybersecurity professional and student panels made a significant impact on the participants providing insights into cybersecurity careers and pathways. These panels consisted of past and current cybersecurity students from Tennessee Tech’s Computer Science program. Many of the panelist had been or were current CyberCorps SFS or Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship program participants.

Evidence of this impact came in many forms. One of the female student participants sent this message to one of the lead camp counselors after the conclusion of the camp:

Thank you for organizing the Tennessee Tech Cyber Camp last week. It was my first experience participating in a CTF, and I learned so much about cybersecurity concepts. I am a rising high school senior and will definitely consider studying cybersecurity in college after this camp.

Marena Soulet, one of the lead camp counselors and a CyberCorps SFS scholar, noted “I can say that ‘yes’, the virtual camp did bring its own set of challenges. Being in front of a camera in your home is different from physically being in a room where the activities are occurring. Ice breakers in the early part of the camp were crucial to getting the students to engage. We saw the teams grow together each day. Then, after the conclusion of the camp, I got a message from one of the students. She said that because of the camp experience, she was considering cyber as a path of study and career. It was at that point that it all became very real to me. Something incredible happened during that camp. I am super excited to see what happens during our July camp!

Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director, commenting on the camp’s rollout, “This summer we had to do something for the youth who are challenged by the COVID-19 situation at large and that’s why the virtual camp. In the camp, what these students experienced in three half-days is not all that different from what the workforce is experiencing through telecommuting. Aside from acquiring cybersecurity knowledge/experience during the camp, these kids gained some valuable engagement skills which will help them in future jobs, including the ability to work remotely as a member of a team. I am very proud of our students/counselors teamwork and dedication to making an incredible camp happen. “

CEROC will be offering a second camp on July 21st – 23rd meeting 1:00pm – 4:30pm each day. 100 high school students are expected to attend the camp. Building on the experience of the June camp, the July camp is expected to bring cybersecurity to youth in a more fun and engaging manner.

CEROC: Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on informal education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry. CEROC is an NSA-accredited Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee, and host of the only DoD Cyber Scholarship program site in the state placing the center among the top tier of such centers in the nation. CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity initiative, the largest of its type focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce. More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu. CEROC can also be found on social media at Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: TNTechCEROC and LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/company/TNTechCEROC.

Tennessee Tech Again Places Among Top in the Nation in Spring 2020 National Cyber League – Individual Game

Tennessee Tech Computer Science students and CyberEagles members have completed another very successful individual game season as part of the 2020 National Cyber League (NCL) competition conducted April 3-5, 2020. A total of 15 members of the CyberEagles Capture the Flag (CTF) Cyber Interest Group competed in this year’s event. Four members of the group, who are CyberCorps SFS Scholars, scored in the Top 100 in the nation. To place this accomplishment in perspective, the competition hosted 5,351 participants in this year’s individuals game. Congratulations to Susan Jeziorowski on placing 90th, Alex Marti placing 58th. A special congratulations goes to Austin Brown placing 9th overall and to Andy Brown who finished 3rd in the nation with 2905 points out of an available 3000 with an 88.44% accuracy rate. Cybersecurity Technologist at the Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) and team advisor, Travis Lee, said “these students continue to grow and excel in these CTF-style events. I enjoyed competing in these competitions when I was a student; now I get to continue the thrill serving as a coach for the team. I am very proud of our team’s efforts.”

“These types of competitions provide essential ‘out of classroom’ experiences which these students will need in the upcoming careers” noted Eric Brown, Assistant Director for CEROC. “The successful outcomes of this competition are a unique combination of the incredible students with which we interact every day, an excellent computer science program with the best overall cybersecurity program in the state, and professional growth provided by the peer mentoring opportunities afforded by the cybersecurity interest groups within CyberEagles. We say it often… our students are the life-blood of our center.”

The NCL seeks to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.

One of the distinguishing factors of the NCL is the integration of learning objectives in all its activities. One of the main ways this is accomplished is by aligning customized content available in NCL Gymnasiums with simulations and games available in the NCL Stadium. This allows players to use the Gym environment to develop knowledge and skills and then demonstrate these newly acquired skills in competitive individual and team play. It also allows the NCL to measure player’s game performance and produce individualized reports (NCL Scouting Report) on strengths and weakness among various learning objectives and industry-recognized competencies. For more information about NCL, goto https://www.nationalcyberleague.org/about.

From here, the students will continue to the team-based portion of the season with the team game being held April 15-17, 2020. All of these games are conducted online, a helpful reality during this time of social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions.

CEROC: Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on crowd-sourced education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry. CEROC is an NSA-accredited Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee, and host of the only DoD Cyber Scholarship program site in the state placing the center among the top tier of such centers in the nation. CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity Conference, the largest conference of its type focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce. More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu.

Tennessee Tech Continues Strong Presence in National Cyber League Fall Season

Cookeville, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) is proud to announce that student affiliates of the center had a strong showing in the Fall 2019 Season of the National Cyber League (NCL) Individual Game competition. Per the NCL website (https://www.nationalcyberleague.org/), “The NCL is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps high school and college students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. All participants play the games simultaneously during Preseason, Individual Game and Team Game… The NCL challenges are based on the CompTIA Security+™ and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)™ performance-based exam objectives and include the following content: Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, and Web Application Security.”

In all 5,224 individuals competed from across the nation with Tennessee Tech having four members rank in the top 100. Phillip (Andy) Brown dominated the field placing 8th overall in the nation with 1st place finishes in open source intelligence and traffic analysis placing him in the top 0.15% of all competitors. Three other students, Austin Brown (23rd), Austin Tice (52nd), and Alex Marti (92nd) would finish in the top 100. Other members appearing in the to 10% are

  • Andy Brown – 8
  • Austin Brown – 23
  • Austin Tice – 52
  • Alex Marti – 92
  • Kendall Land – 136
  • Joshua Vick – 169
  • Susie Jeziorowski – 215
  • Connor Gannon – 476
  • Trey Burks – 519

Travis Lee, Cybersecurity Technologist for CEROC and Tennessee Tech NCL Team Coach, commented “This is the strongest showing in the history of Tennessee Tech’s participation in the competition. The dedication of these students to this competitive work is incredible. We are very proud of them.”

The next phase of the competition will be the team-oriented. The team competition will be held November 15-17, 2019. “We look forward to another strong showing in the teams round” stated Eric Brown, CEROC’s assistant director. “These competition opportunities help the students develop valuable, hands-on skills which complement their classroom work. Companies consider these skills demonstrations to be as important as the degree itself.”

Two other Tennessee Tech teams will be traveling to Oak Ridge National Labs later this week to compete in the Department of Energy’s CyberForce Competition. Tech will be sending a defense team to the competition as well as offensive security group members to serve on the competition’s red team.

Tennessee Tech’s CEROC hosts CPTC Central Region Competition for the First Time

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Eric Brown, elbrown@tntech.edu, 931-372-3519

Cookeville, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech University hosted the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition – Central Region on October 12-13, 2019.  This represents the third year that Tennessee Tech has participated in the event and the first year to host the regional competition. The winning team from this region will join the winners from the North, North East, South East, and Western regions as well as from Dubai to compete in the national competition. Four additional teams will be selected at large to compete in the national competition.

Coaches meeting at CPTC Central Region Competition

Competing in the Central Region in addition to Tennessee Tech are the Air Force Academy, Dakota State, North Dakota State University, Southern Methodist University, University of Northern Iowa, University of Texas – San Antonio, and University of Tulsa. IBM served as the national sponsor for the event. Local sponsors for the Central Region include Cisco Systems, HCA, SAIC, and the Women in Cybersecurity Organization with HP/Aruba serving as the coffee sponsor. “We are excited to be selected as the host site for this regional competition. CEROC hosts a number of outreach events throughout the year. We enjoy events like this where we can meet with our peer institutions,” said Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director.

Tennessee Tech team members hard at work

As described by the organization, “The Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) provides a vehicle for up and coming cybersecurity student teams to build and hone the skills required to effectively discover, triage, and mitigate critical security vulnerabilities. This competition is unique in offering a simulated environment that mimics real world networks. The competition focuses on improving the security posture of a fictitious organization and reporting on risks in a manner that is similar to a real professional environment.” 

The competition incorporates skill sets involving the use of technology, accurate communication, and effective collaboration. Lucas Morris, a CPTC director serving at the Tennessee Tech site, said “there is nothing more exciting than to watch people grow. In my 14 years of serving in security consulting leadership, the biggest challenge for most new professionals is not deep technical skills, but soft skills. Competitions like these help participants to develop those important soft skill sets and prepare them for their future career in the cybersecurity sector. An individual who is passionate about education and has the ability to communicate is incredibly valuable.”

Participating in this year’s Tennessee Tech team are Connor Gannon, Max Layer, Sam Neel, Andrew McDole, Austin Tice, and Will Johnson (team captain).  Travis Lee, cybersecurity technologist with CEROC, served as the team coach as well as handling technology logistics for the event.  Eric Brown, assistant director for CEROC, noted “This group is just another example of the high-quality, student professionals which enrich our center’s work.  We are very proud of their accomplishments both in achievement and professional growth.”

CEROC (https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc) is a NSA-designated Center ofAcademic Excellence – Cyber Defense and a CyberCorps SFS participating school since December 2015.  Located in the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech, CEROC offers a wide variety of services and programs across the pillars of education, research and outreach.  Dr. Ambareen Siraj is the founding director of the center who leads its education, research, and outreach activities.  Dr. Siraj is also the founder of the Women in Cybersecurity conference and organization (https://www.wicys.org/).

More information about the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition can be found at https://nationalcptc.org. More information about the Central Region Competition can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc/outreach/cptc/.

Tennessee Tech take 2nd Place at 2019 CyberCorps SFSCon

COOKEVILLE, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech is pleased to announce another successful showing at the SFSCon.  The CyberCorps SFSCon is a cybersecurity training and professional development event for the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) students and alumni nationwide.  The event focuses on topics such as software security, malware analysis, network security, web security, cryptography, incident response, forensics, and the fundamentals of penetration testing.  The conference is hosted by Cal Poly Pomona.  The Capture the Flag competition is one of the most engaging parts of the event.

Tennessee Tech CyberCorps SFS students, operating under the team name GuessWho, made a strong showing throughout the competition leading until the final minutes.  Team GuessWho finished in second place with a score of 4513 just behind the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a score of 4606.  “We are very proud of our team’s dominating performance with what could only be called a photo finish.” stated Eric Brown, CEROC’s Assistant Director.

“Competitions like these, where our students’ skills are being compared to the skills of their peers, clearly demonstrate the incredible talent embodied in these scholars.  This outcome is the result of more than their daily coursework efforts; it is the result of countless hours of crowdsourced learning led by the students themselves.  These learning opportunities train the students not only in technical areas but provides a solid skill set in mentoring and teaching.  These scholars represent our country’s next generation of cyber defenders.  We are very proud of them” noted Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director.  

CEROC’s defense, offense, and CTF teams remain active throughout the year.  Currently CEROC teams are participating in picoCTF, Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC), National Cyber League, and other cyber competitions.  Tennessee Tech will be serving as the Central Region host for the 2019 CPTC held this October 11th-13th.

CEROC:  Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on K-20 cybersecurity education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry.  CEROC is an NSA-accredited Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee, and host of the only DoD Cyber Scholarship program site in the state placing the center among the top tier of such centers in the nation.  CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity Conference, the largest conference of its type focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce.  More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu.

Data Privacy Day 2019

Today is Data Privacy Day.  As discussed in https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2019/01/22/Data-Privacy-Day, the annual event is an effort to promote data privacy awareness and education.  The US-CERT article has links to a host of resources which can help individuals become more aware of the importance of safe online practices.  While by no means an exhaustive list, consider the following the next time you pick up that smart device:

  • Be weary of email messages from businesses or organizations unknown to you expressing an unreasonable urgency to provide them your personal information.
  • Be aware of the information that you share about yourself in social media outlets.  Social posts never die.
  • Be aware that free anything is never free.  Many free apps comes with the cost of your personal information to download or use the app.
  • Speak with your children about the online games which they are playing.  Most of these games include the ability to converse and share information with other players.  These players may not be the individuals that they profess themselves to be.  Know who your kids are talking to.

I had the pleasure of speak with Logan @ News Talk 94.1 (https://newstalk941.com) about the data privacy and simple steps that individuals can take to improve their personal security profile.  The article can be found at https://newstalk941.com/data-privacy-day-highlights-importance-of-online-security/.

Tennessee Tech CSAT Seminar 2018

Save Hours of Headache with Less Than an Hour of Attention: Tennessee Tech CyberSecurity Awareness and Training (CSAT) Seminar for TnTech Faculty and Staff
STEM Center auditorium, Tuesday, October 30 at 11— 12 p.m.
Derryberry Auditorium on Thursday, November 1  at 11— 12 p.m.
Please join us for the CyberSecurity Awareness and Training (CSAT) Seminar 2018 – an cybersecurity awareness event for faculty and staff of TnTech organized in the honor of National CyberSecurity Awareness month of October.  This Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) sponsored event is designed and presented by Tech Computer Science students.
An hour of your time with CSAT can save you HOURS of headache for you regarding cyber safety at home and work.
The seminar will be offered two different times and locations to accommodate the busy schedules of our faculty and staff.   The first will be at the STEM Center auditorium on Tuesday, October 30 at 11:00am; the second opportunity will be held at the Derryberry Auditorium on Thursday, November 1 at 11:00am.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.
REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED.

CEROC CPTC Team Places 2nd in Regionals!

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Eric Brown, elbrown@tntech.edu, 931-372-3519

Cookeville, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech University is pleased to announce the 2nd place finish of the Tennessee Tech team at the 2018 Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition – Central Region held at Missouri University of Science and Technology October 5-7, 2018.  Dakota State took 1st place.  Among the other competitors in the field of six universities are Missouri University S&T, University of Texas – San Antonio, and Southern Methodist University.  Both Dakota State and Tennessee Tech will move on to national competition to be held at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY November 2-4, 2018.

As described by the organization, “The Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) provides a vehicle for up and coming cybersecurity student teams to build and hone the skills required to effectively discover, triage, and mitigate critical security vulnerabilities. This competition is unique in offering a simulated environment that mimics real world networks. The competition focuses on improving the security posture of a fictitious organization and reporting on risks in a manner that is similar to a real professional environment.”  The competition incorporates skillsets involving the use of technology, accurate communication, and effective collaboration.

Participating in this year’s team are Joe Bivens, Darren Cunningham, Connor Gannon, Max Layer, Sam Wehunt, and David Yantis.  Joseph Cross, cybersecurity technologist with CEROC, served as the staff advisor.  Darren Cunningham stated, “It was an incredible learning experience… exhausting, but a lot of fun.”  Eric Brown, assistant director for CEROC, noted “This group is just another example of the high-quality, student professionals which enrich our center’s work.  We are very proud of their accomplishments both in achievement and professional growth.”

CEROC (https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc) is a NSA-designated Center ofAcademic Excellence – Cyber Defense and a CyberCorps SFS participating school since December 2015.  Located in the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech, CEROC offers a wide variety of services and programs across the pillars of education, research and outreach.  Dr. Ambareen Siraj is the founding director of the center who leads its education, research, and outreach activities.  Dr. Siraj is also the founder of the Women in Cybersecurity conference and organization (https://www.wicys.org/).

More information about the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition can be found at https://nationalcptc.org.