University of North Georgia (UNG) cybersecurity students made strong showings in a pair of high-level events during the spring 2022 semester. They were fifth out of 25 teams in the national Hack the Port cyber-physical systems hacking competition. UNG also finished in second place in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition hosted by Kennesaw State University.
“This team has worked hard for multiple years to get to the top level of these competitions, and it’s great to see their efforts pay off,” Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and coordinator of student cyber programs, said.
U.S. Cyber Command, in partnership with DreamPort, hosted Hack the Port, which, in addition to the competition, featured speeches, lectures and panel discussions from government and industry leaders. Hack the Port brought together partners and subject matter experts to highlight the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber defense priorities. UNG’s team at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, event included Houstoun Hall, Benjamin Huckaba, Alyssa Hunter, Smit Patel, and Michael Serwitz.
The regional finish gave UNG wildcard status to compete for a spot at the national Cyber Defense Competition. Although UNG finished fifth in the virtual wildcard round, the second-place regional result was the school’s best yet. UNG cyber students advanced from a regional qualifier with 27 teams to become one of eight that competed in the regional event at Kennesaw State.
Zachary Barge, Daniel Cornett, Hall, Huckaba, Patel, Dylan Schopmann, Shane Stephens, and Matthew Telfor were on the regional team.
The regional competition required teams to respond to a scenario in which they had to provide cyber defense and respond to regular business needs at the same time.
“This competition was not just cybersecurity in a vacuum,” Dr. John-David Rusk, assistant professor of computer science and cybersecurity, said. “It was cybersecurity in a simulated business environment.”