We associate fall with many different things: leaves changing colors, Halloween, all things pumpkin spice, just to name a few.
Cybersecurity professionals, including the 25 School of Computer and Cyber Sciences faculty members and students who attended, would throw in one more thing to that mix: the BSidesAugusta Conference.
BSidesAugusta 2018 was held at Augusta University’s J. Harold Harrison Education Commons on October 20. The day-long conference marked Augusta University’s sixth consecutive year hosting and sponsoring this conference since the inception of BSidesAugusta in 2013. BSidesAugusta 2018 marked the largest conference to date with 860 attendees.
Three School of Computer and Cyber Sciences students had the great honor of being chosen to present their research. Senior Computer Science student Nick Wylds, Senior Information Technology student Eric Kilgore and Junior Computer Science student Thomas Gordon presented their research on “Hardware Reverse Engineering.”
“Originally this started off as us looking at medical devices and the different vulnerabilities we could find,” said Wylds. “We were a little overwhelmed as we were out of our element [looking at big-time medical devices]. We decided to look at more commonly available devices to see what we could find out about them.”
Gordon, Kilgore and Wylds have worked alongside School of Computer and Cyber Sciences Cyber Science Program Director, Dr. Michael Nowatkowski, on this research project.
Their research presentation was the last one of the day. However, all three students say they were pleasantly surprised at the interest and turnout for their presentation.
“We had a packed room, which was surprising for the last talk of the day,” said Wylds. “I enjoyed the fact that our talk was so well received because of how easy it was to understand and not overly complicated.”
As students, all three were able to attend other presentations throughout the day and walked away with valuable takeaways they learned from other industry professionals present at BSidesAugusta.
“A lot of the talks given were geared more towards a certain role in this industry,” said Gordon. “I thought it was very enlightening.”
Overall, all three students would highly recommend attending BSidesAugusta as a student. Presenting at a conference like this proved to be an excellent experience for each of these future School of Computer and Cyber Sciences graduates and they would definitely advise students to pursue research if given the chance.
“We have supported the BSidesAugusta conference in order to provide our students a local, high quality cybersecurity conference they can attend for free,” said Joanne Sexton, director of the Augusta University Cyber Institute. “I applaud Nick, Eric, and Tom for being selected to present at BSidesAugusta. I hope other students follow their lead by connecting with a faculty mentor to pursue undergraduate research — it’s an opportunity not to be missed that truly is priceless.”