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World's Largest Student Cybersecurity Games Kicks Off at NYU

The 14th annual NYU Cybersecurity Awareness Week (CSAW) games have commenced, drawing the top cybersecurity students from around the globe.

The Downtown Brooklyn campus of New York University Tandon School of Engineering is hosting top student white hats and researchers for round-the-clock challenges designed to test a broad range of computer security skills. Last year, the event was expanded to include events at NYU Abu Dhabi and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Kanpur). This year it’s even bigger, with five global sites, including Valence, France, at Grenoble INP-Esisar, one of six engineering schools of the Grenoble Institute of Technology; and Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, Israel’s “cyber alley.”

With hackers influencing politics, holding personal devices ransom, stealing the personal data of entire populations, and threatening institutions—costing businesses $400 billion per year, the demand for information security experts has never been higher.

To encourage interest in the space among those soon to enter the workforce, CSAW highlights include High School Forensics, where 10 teams of US high school students, including an all-female team, will find a skeleton in the Maker Space at NYU Tandon. They must use cybersecurity skills and a clue scrawled on a piece of paper to find out who was responsible for the murder. Nineteen teams will compete at NYU Abu Dhabi and Grenoble-INP Esisar.

The signature event of CSAW, Capture the Flag, or CTF, runs for 36 straight hours, as 15 US college student teams hack through the night in a difficult test of both offensive and defensive security skills. NYU Abu Dhabi, IIT Kanpur and Ben-Gurion University will also host CTF finalist teams.

Also, the toughest event at CSAW tackles one of the most frightening security threats: Malware embedded in the underlying hardware of electronics devices. For this year’s event, sponsored by the United States Office of Naval Research, teams from North America, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and India will compete simultaneously at NYU Tandon, Grenoble-INP Esisar, NYU Abu Dhabi, and, IIT Kanpur.

Rounding out the agenda: A Cyber Journalism Award; a career fair where the companies, not the attendees, work to impress; and a Law & Policy Competition, where four finalist teams present their public policy solutions designed to make it easier for companies to improve data security and protect consumer privacy. 

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