The Pace Cybersecurity Team based on the Pleasantville campus started the spring semester by competing in the virtual qualifier for the regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC).
Out of the twenty problems our cyber warriors had to address over the eight-hour competition, challenges included things like defending a small business network against a big bad Red team, the configuration of a Palo Alto firewall, implementation of SSH on Linux servers, and an internal vulnerability audit with OpenVAS, to name a few.
Kaila Marie Letteri, a senior Information Technology major reflects on her experience.
“I found out about the Pace Cybersecurity Team in my junior year. I was very interested in getting involved in activities that would prepare me for a career in IT Security since my long-term goal is to work for the FBI or the CIA. I felt this cyber defense competition would be the perfect opportunity to expand my IT Security skills. However, after a few meetings I was intimidated because I did not know a lot, and I felt that the students on the team knew so much more than me. Now, in my senior year, I decided to give the competition one more try. After attending the first few meetings, the team held elections for captain positions. I told myself that this time I would not give up no matter what, and that it was meant to be a learning experience. It soon turned out to be one of the best learning experiences I have had at Pace.
I decided to run for team captain, and I was surprised to find out that I had been chosen to lead the team! We quickly started getting into gear by hosting meetings every Monday and Friday throughout the entire fall semester. We spent 60+ hours preparing the virtual environment for practice, running through different competition scenarios, and getting up to speed. The security-related courses most of us have taken provided a good base for the competition.
The team was a lot of fun this year! We had great chemistry and worked very well together. We were from different majors within Seidenberg, from different years, and with different levels of experience, but we made it work perfectly! I had so much fun spending time with the team and making new friends. We created a lot of great memories and inside jokes that I will remember for many years to come. However, it was not all fun and games because we all worked very hard learning new things and improving our skills. So when we had to get serious and go to work, we did.
I gained quite a bit of technical knowledge by joining this team and I would recommend the competition to any student interested in security. It is a learning process for many so do not get intimidated the way I did at first. You will learn what you need to know along the way. You will also learn how to work as a team and that is a skill an IT professional needs to master!”
The team was supported by the IT Department in Westchester, and was coached by adjunct professors Andreea Cotoranu and John Watkins. Those interested in joining the team next year should get in touch with professor Cotoranu at email@example.com.