Augusta University’s School of Cyber and Computer Sciences was thrilled to host the Southeastern Regional Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) for the fourth consecutive year. During this year’s competition, 10 college cybersecurity teams from across the Southeast came to the Georgia Cyber Center to face off in this unique offense-based cybersecurity competition.
“We hosted this competition in person in 2019. We held virtual events in 2020 and 2021. It’s great to have folks coming back for this year’s in-person event,” said Steven Weldon, director of the Cyber Institute at the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. He added that the competition, held Nov. 19-20, would not be possible without the support of the Georgia Cyber Center, the Southeast Cyber Industry Association and local sponsor, BSides Augusta.
CPTC is unlike other collegiate cybersecurity competitions and allows students to get hands-on experience in the world of cybersecurity. “We kind of pretended to be hackers and break into the system and see what needed to be improved,” said AU cybersecurity student and CPTC competitor Gavin McKean.
This year’s theme was “Hotels and Hospitality.” During the competition, teams mimicked the activities that companies, professional services firms and internal security would perform during a real-world penetration test. “It emphasizes being immersed and role-playing as a company,” said AU cybersecurity student and team captain Eliana Lopez. “We have to see how much data we can discover and uncover, and push our way into seeing how much we can get.”
Even though the AU team did not take home the first-place prize, they left with an experience that will be beneficial as they step into the professional world. “This competition is a great experience for future cybersecurity professionals,” said Weldon.
“These students will have an appreciation for the penetration testing aspect of cybersecurity even if they decide to go in a different direction. The experience is valuable.”
Lopez agrees. “As a pen-testing team versus being a student, I think that heavier role-play forces you to think like a professional and forces you to act differently than a normal college student.”
The CPTC regional competitions encompass seven regions from around the world, including Canada, Europe and the Middle East. This year, the University of Central Florida will be the team advancing from the Southeast region to compete at the Global CPTC at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York in January 2023.
This year’s participants:
- Augusta University
- University of South Alabama
- The University of Texas at Austin
- The University of Texas at San Antonio
- Kennesaw State University
- Liberty University
- Mercer University
- University of Florida
- University of Central Florida
- University of West Florida
Southeastern Regional CPTC winners:
- First place: University of Central Florida
- Second place: The University of Texas at San Antonio
- Third place: Liberty University