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UMGC Alumni AssociationUMGC Cyber Team Takes Second Place At Parsons Competition

Alex Kasten
By Alex Kasten

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) cyber competition team placed second in a recent capture the flag (CTF) competition sponsored by Parsons Corp., a global provider of cybersecurity services.

The Sept. 21 event was the first in the 2022-23 competition season and attracted cybersecurity professionals of all skill levels. UMGC scored 5,892 points, strong enough for second place out of 12 teams. The UMGC team included Noe Corral-Galvan and Jason Griffis, both majoring in computer networks and cybersecurity, as well as recent graduates Morgan Morgan, who has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity, and Ben Simcox, who has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

“Our strong finish at Parsons was a great way for our team to start the school year,” said Jesse Varsalone, associate professor of computer networks and cybersecurity at UMGC and coach of the competition team. “Some teammates were unable to participate in the event due the timing, but other members stepped up, a testament to the highly developed skills of all the students and alumni on the team.”

The Parsons event, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a Jeopardy-style CTF competition that tested participants’ skills across a range of topics, including network forensics, coding, web hacking, cryptography, analytics, penetration testing, malware analysis, algorithms and reverse engineering. Teams score points by being the first to answer a question successfully, with some questions weighted. Typically a face-to-face event, this year all students participated remotely.

“As an online university, UMGC is well positioned to compete in remote events as students and team members reside throughout the United States, as well as abroad,” said Varsalone. “Fortunately, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to grow our team and compete in remote events at the highest level."

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