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PV goes to cyber security conference

Shashank Inampudi, Photo Manager

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When many students think of the words “field trip,” they often think of going to a museum or a historical site for the day and messing around. The main purpose of the field trip (for students, at least) is to be away from school for a day. For the field trip to attend the Alliance: converge cybersecurity conference, this was not the case.

On Sept. 6, Jason Landa and Grant Houseman took a group of students to the University of Augustana. The purpose of the field trip was to show students a subfield within programming: Cybersecurity. The highlights of the day-long conference were the Capture the Flag (CTP) game and the panel with cybersecurity experts.

CTP was an exercise created by the conference to introduce students to decrypting files. The exercise had several tasks, varying widely in difficulty. Some were simply multiple choice questions, while others required you to use an encrypted file, understand which encryption method was used, and finally decrypt the file. Each question answered would award a certain amount of points (depending on the difficulty of the question), and the team with the most points would win.

The students made three separate teams. Team “winning” won the competition, while the other two teams also had strong finishes. Sophomore Max Brosallian said, “it was really nice to win, and I loved the competitive aspect.” Houseman said, “It was awesome to see students working together to solve the problem.”

The other highlight of the day was the expert panel. The students were able to pick the brains of several accomplished individuals, including Anthony Lauderdale, head of Threat Intelligence at Motorola Solutions; and John Johnson, CEO, and Founder of Aligned Security. Houseman “thought the panel gave some very good insight on professional careers not only in computer science but careers in general.”

All in all, both students and faculty considered the conference to be a success. “The conference was an absolute blast,” said senior Blake Friemel. Many students left the conference hoping that similar opportunities arise so that they can further explore the field.

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PV goes to cyber security conference