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UH Hilo team earns berth in finals of world wide cyber security competition

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Date: Monday, November 2, 2009
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students on the programming team have advanced to the finals of the 6th Annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) digital war games to be held November 13th, 2009 on the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU - Polytechnic) Brooklyn campus.

The UH Hilo team earned the right to compete for top honors in the world wide competition by finishing in the top ten during the opening round of the Application Security Challenge, held in October. The team of Jahrain Jackson, Asael Temple, Chris Usher and Francis Usher placed eighth overall. Aja Cornella and Tyler Yoshiyama served as alternates for the team. Dr. H. Keith Edwards, Michael Peterson, Shawon Rahman and William Wright prepared the team for the competition.

“Mere words cannot express how proud I am of our students who have distinguished themselves on a global scale,” said Edwards, chair and associate professor, computer science. “They spent 27 straight hours in the lab working on this and have shown that they can compete with the world’s best.”

The teams faced its toughest challenge ever in this year’s competition, which required knowledge of architectures for mobile phones and Macs, in addition to PC-based systems. The designers of the opening round challenge included Dino Dai Zovi, co-author of the Mac Hacker’s handbook and The Art of Software Security Testing and a member of the NYU-Poly faculty. Stephen Ridley of the security research and development firm Matasano Security co-authored the application security challenge.

The UH Hilo squad will face a highly competitive field in the finals, which includes teams from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy New York, DePaul University of Chicago, University of Queensland, Australia along with undergraduates from NYU-Poly and California State Polytechnic University. Prizes will include a graduate level scholarship to NYU-Poly’s prominent cyber-security program.

“Our students are very excited to be in the finals of this prestigious competition,” Edwards said. “They now look forward to competing with their peers to become the next generation of cyber-security stars.”

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