There are millions of unfilled jobs in the cybersecurity industry. Faculty, staff and students at Rochester Institute of Technology say they are working to change this by getting the right people to make the United States safe from cyber attacks.
Dozens of elite cybersecurity students gathered at RIT this weekend to face-off components and test their hacking skills for the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition Finals.
Director Justin Pelletier says ten top teams were selected for the global finals in Rochester.
"About a month and a half ago, we had student teams from all over the world gather into six regions,” said Pelletier. “Five in the U.S. and one international at our (RIT) campus in Dubai.”
Students were tasked with hacking a fictitious organization called "Dino Bank" to improve its security.
“Offensive security focuses on finding weaknesses and vulnerability of your clients before the bad guys do,” said participant, Sunggwan Choi. “We’ll actually do offensive operations in order to find weakness first.”
The competition challenged elite student hackers through telephonic banking, ATMs, a cryptocurrency platform, simulated transactions, and more. A social aspect was also built in where student hackers were disrupted by members of Dino Bank. Teams were evaluated for their professionalism and response.
Organizers and students say the competition helps hone the skills needed for a job in the cybersecurity industry.
“It adds a bit of that human factor,” said participant, Andrea-Cristino Seazzu. “If you can do all these things on the keyboard, but can't relay that to anyone, it's not going to be beneficial for the company or you as a product."
“If you are into hacking there are a lot of opportunities out there that are ethical,” participant, Sears Schulz added. “There are all these penetration testing firm; something that you can do to learn that skill more but without going down paths that are illegal."
Representatives from IBM, Google Fire Eye and more were also in attendance to evaluate the student hackers during team presentations of their findings.