Cybersecurity Competitions @ UConn

The Synchrony center hosted CyberSEED 2023 on March 4th. The Connecticut Advanced Computing Center (CACC) and CyberSEED bring together dozens of universities and colleges to compete in unique cybersecurity challenges for awesome prizes. The top three teams this year were University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of North Georgia and Michigan Technological University. UConn placed 7th and 8th in the top 10 ranking.

This was another fantastic edition with 333 registrations and 118 teams who participated in the event. The competition was fierce! The table below offers a summary of the top-10, prize winning teams! The maximum score attainable was 2700. Once more, we would like to extend my congratulations to the roster below as well as to all the participants. We hope it was as much fun for you to engage in and we look forward to see you again!


Rank School Team Name Points Accuracy
1 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign SIGwny 2495 98.85%
2 University of North Georgia NullPTR 2395 87.50%
3 Michigan Technological University CyberSNEED_v2 2390 93.41%
4 University of Central Florida KnightSec 2310 85.00%
5 Florida Institute of Technology FITSEC - Knights of the Hash Table 2265 82.83%
6 Syracuse University OttoLock 2225 78.30%
7 University of Connecticut The Heinous Hominids 2165 58.82%
8 University of Connecticut The distinguished gentlemen of UConn Cybersecurity Club 2150 85.57%
9 California State University - Fullerton CSUF 2145 73.87%
10 University of Tulsa Shadow Wizard Money Gang 2145 65.04%

CyberSEED Returns in Virtual Format

students at cyberseed

By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering

After a postponement last year, the annual CyberSEED event, hosted by Synchrony and The Connecticut Advanced Computing Center (CACC), is back on in a 100 percent virtual format.

CyberSEED 2021, which will take place on March 27, from 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., will host teams from schools all over the United States, who will compete in a Capture the Flag-style competition focusing on a variety of cybersecurity challenges including a set of flags focusing on reverse engineering, web application security, network traffic analysis, cryptography, amongst others on the Cyber Skyline platform.

Student teams of 2-4 people will have the opportunity to win cash prices of between $250 to $3,000, hear from a panel of experts, and also get a chance to meet and hear from Synchrony’s own Chief Information Security Officer Gleb Reznik. The top three winners from last year’s competition included: Drexel University, University of Maryland, and New York University.

Synchrony and UConn Engineering Join Forces to Host CyberSEED 2019

STORRS, CT – During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Synchrony, a premier consumer financial services company, and The University of Connecticut School of Engineering are joining forces to sponsor CyberSEED 2019, a cyber wargame competition, on Saturday, October 19th from 9am to 5:30pm.

More than forty-two teams from 30 colleges and universities across the country will face off in a variety of challenges that test students’ skills, including: reverse engineering, web application security, network traffic analysis, and cryptography. The grand prize winner will take home $15,000; there will also be two smaller prizes of $2,000 and $500.

Registration for the competition is closed, but registration for a concurrent workshop will remain open through 17 October.

WHAT: CyberSEED – a cyber Capture the Flag competition and Workshop

WHEN: Saturday, October 19th

9:00am – opening remarks

9:30am – competition commences

5:00pm – competition ends

5:30pm – awards and closing

The workshop runs concurrently with the Capture the Flag competition.

WHERE: UConn Storrs Campus — Rome Commons Ballroom


Jeannette Burke (UConn)

Nicole Ward (Synchrony)

Technical (Synchrony)

First CyberSEED Event Combines Cybersecurity Competition and Discussion

First CyberSEED Event Combines Cybersecurity Competition and Discussion

More than 350 people attended the first-ever CyberSEED Cybersecurity, Education & Diversity Challenge, an event that combined expert speakers and three cybersecurity competitions.

The two-day conference took place Oct. 20 and 21 and was organized by the Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI), a partnership between Comcast and the UConn School of Engineering’s Center for Hardware Assurance, Security, and Engineering (CHASE).

“I think we exceeded the expectations in many ways,” said Mark Tehranipoor, Director, Comcast Center of Excellence (CSI). “Because this was the first CyberSEED event for us, we thought ‘Well, we’ll use it as an experience and learn from this.’ But within a couple months, it became clear that we didn’t have time for ‘learning from this.’ We just have to take it to the next level right away.”

The ambitious event brought more than 40 teams from universities across the U.S. to the UConn campus to compete in three unique cybersecurity challenges for more than $100,000 in prizes. The competition played out over the two days in the same venue – the Lewis B. Rome Commons – that hosted some of most respected experts in the field of cybersecurity.

The conference featured more than 20 speakers, including keynote addresses from Rear Admiral David Simpson (ret.), Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau; Cheri Caddy, Director for Cybersecurity Policy Integration and Outreach, National Security Staff, The White House; and Donna Dodson, Chief Cyber Security Advisor, NIST.

Speakers and panel discussions addressed a wide range of topics related to cybersecurity – from protecting against international-level cyberattacks, to how businesses can protect their customers. Tehranipoor said he was particularly impressed with the panel discussions that featured all three of the major players in cybersecurity.

“When you bring academia, government and industry into one room and let them talk, I think it’s extremely beneficial,” he said. “The three sides have to hear each other.”

Each is coming at the issue with a slightly different approach, he said, especially in regard to confidentiality. Talking with each other helps resolve those differences.

“At events likes these, they come together and talk about what they want, and I think there’s always ways to come up with common ground,” he said. “I think meeetings like this could have a major impact in the way we address cybersecurity issues.”

The conference also featured a VIP tour of the CSI lab, which opened earlier this year. Tehranipoor and John Chandy, Associate Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering, led guests through the lab and showcased the technology that’s coming out of it.

Sponsors for CyberSEED included Microsoft, Dell, HP, Symantec, CA Technologies, Juniper Networks, Accenture, Veracode, Wipro, PWC and Cyveillance.

Cybersecurity Contest Challenges Teams to Think Like a Hacker

By William Weir

(UConn Today)

Computer hackers descended upon UConn this past week, and for their efforts, came away with more than $100,000 in prize money.

Teams from 43 colleges including UConn gathered at the Lewis B. Rome Commons Ballroom to take part in various challenges at CyberSEED, a two-day cybersecurity conference that also featured speakers and panel discussions. Rear Adm. David Simpson, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, gave a talk about the state of national and international cybersecurity.

The conference, which took place Oct. 21-22, was organized by the Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI), a partnership between Comcast and UConn School of Engineering’s Center for Hardware Assurance, Security, and Engineering (CHASE). It was the first of what is planned to be an annual event.


University of New Haven team members discuss strategy in the Capture the Flag competition, during a two-day cybersecurity conference organized by the Center of Excellence for Security Innovation, a partnership between Comcast and the UConn School of Engineering’s Center for Hardware Assurance, Security, and Engineering. (Christopher LaRosa/UConn Photo)

The competitions featured both software and hardware challenges, but the most popular was Capture the Flag. Here, teams hacked away at classified files of the fictitious country Cyberia, acting on behalf of the small neighboring nation Sanctus Pirata. The files provided details of the country’s oil rigs, allowing the smaller nation to tap into them if successful.

Teams came from as far as Washington State and New Mexico. Some were veterans of hacking competitions, others complete novices. Coming to UConn for their first hacking competition, East Tennessee State University flew into Connecticut at 2 a.m. Energy drinks and coffee figured heavily in their strategy. Their coach, computer science professor Mike Lehrfeld, said the team members had spent much of the past few weeks discussing strategies and different scenarios they might encounter.

“The competition allows them to showcase what they’ve worked on all year long,” he said.


The team from Syracuse University hacks away for classified files in the Capture the Flag competition. (Christopher LaRosa/UConn Photo)

In the end, it was Brown University who took top honors based on speed and the number of documents uncovered. They won $15,000 for first place. Overall, more than $100,000 was awarded to winning teams. No one went away empty-handed: every participant received a Samsung tablet.

So how do you prepare for a hacking competition?

“Lots of YouTube video, lots of Googling,” said Andrew Rector, a senior with the team from Bloomsburg University in central Pennsylvania. Even though they were taking on the role of the bad guys, he said, “these kinds of efforts will pay off for the good guys. You need to know how a system is vulnerable before you can protect it.”

Indeed, conference speaker Cheri Caddy, director of cybersecurity policy integration and outreach at the White House, told the audience that security efforts have lagged because of a lack of training in the field.

Michael Garvin, senior manager of product management for Symantec, was one of the architects of the Capture the Flag competition. They devise their games partly by current events – who’s committing cyberattacks and why – and from feedback from companies who want to protect their security.

These competitions, he said, are a way of identifying vulnerabilities in a company’s computer system.

“We’ll ask companies ‘What is it that you’re worried about?’ Then we can prevent those things from happening, or lessen the amount of damage,” he said. “We’ve seen some interesting and novel methods in these competitions – all the better to help us prepare.”

CyberSEED in the Media and Social Media

Print, television and online news media came to UConn last week to cover the first-ever CyberSEED Cybersecurity, Education & Diversity Challenge, an event that brought together talks from cybersecurity experts and three cybersecurity competitions.

The Hartford Courant focused on the labor shortage in cybersecurity:

“We just have not been training enough people to man the defenses of every business at work, every government at work, every military mission,” said Cheri Caddy, director of cybersecurity policy integration and outreach at the White House. “We need to do more.”

Go here to read the rest of reporter Ken Gosselin’s article.

To see photos from the two-day event, go to UConn Engineering’s Flickr account:

CyberSEED: Cybersecurity, Education & Diversity Challenge Week Takes Place in October

The Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI) is sponsoring the first-ever CyberSEED: Cybersecurity, Education & Diversity Challenge Week.

Taking place Oct. 20 and 21, the event features:

  • Networking and recruiting opportunities for professionals and students16 CPE credits for certified members attending CyberSEED
  • 30 universities competing in three unique challenges for $100K in prize
  • Complementary attendance with travel stipend for students participating in competitions
  • Keynote addresses and sessions from academic, government, and industry leaders
  • Awareness presentations on cybercrime, malware, and evolving threats

For more information, go to the event’s website: