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UMGC Alumni AssociationCyber Team Sweeps Top Three Spots in MAGIC Competition

Alex Kasten
By Alex Kasten

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) cybersecurity competition team claimed first, second, and third place finishes in the Annual Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC) Competition on Oct. 22. More than 19 teams competed in the capture-the-flag (CTF) event.

“In the five years that we’ve participated in this event, this is our best result,” said Jesse Varsalone, associate professor of cybersecurity technology and faculty advisor for the cyber competition program. “The victories served as a positive close to our 2022 season and allowed our largest and most diverse team in our 10-year history to showcase its skills.”

The first-place UMGC team—Team2, made up of undergraduates Aidan Bennett, Aaron Shrock and James Roy—scored 12,570 points. UMGC’s second-place Team1, with undergraduates Jason Griffis, Jacob Durboraw, Randy Brongo and Noe Corral-Galvan, racked up 8,270 points. On UMGC’s third-place Team3, undergraduates Nikhil Deo and Bradley Hirsch scored 7,810 points.

CTF events hosted by MAGIC are based on content developed by cybersecurity professionals at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and further extended and modified by MAGIC volunteers. The October event was MAGIC’s 13th annual competition, and it included sets of puzzles that required hacking tools, coding skills and problem solving to find the answers, which are short strings of code called “flags.” Once located, the flags are entered onto a scoreboard that keeps a tally for all teams. The team with the most points at the end of the timed competition wins.

The four-hour MAGIC challenge was broken into difficulty levels that became progressively more challenging. They included Linux- and Windows-specific problems focused on reverse engineering, password cracking and other coding challenges.

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