CT officials: Cybersecurity a threat, but also a source of jobs

Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the UConn School of Engineering, discussed combating cyberattacks during a forum Monday with Gov. Ned Lamont. 

HARTFORD — The age of increasing cyberattacks threatens businesses, state infrastructure, government and Connecticut's utilities.

But the current vulnerabilities have also created opportunities to share information and train people to fill an estimated 600,000 future cyber-security jobs across the country, state experts said Monday during a forum at the University of Connecticut School of Business.

"If I was a bad actor, I would think I'd go after the low-hanging fruit" presented by smaller towns in the state, said Gov. Ned Lamont. "I would assume that they would be a little less sophisticated when it comes to cyber protections. I would worry that that's a back door into the Department of Revenue Services or your financial entity, or your utility. I assume this is a really good way to check on those doors that are left ajar and to make sure they're locked. That makes an awful lot of sense to me. Get on-board with these skills. You're going to have to learn these skills. It's an incredibly important skill set to have. There's a guaranteed job."

Read more at The Register Citizen

Cyberattack Continues to Impact ECHN and Waterbury Health: NBC CT News interviews UConn Professor Laurent Michel

Students walking out of the Information Technologies Building during the fall. Oct. 18, 2022. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)A systemwide IT outage caused by a cyberattack continues to affect Eastern Connecticut Health Network and Waterbury HEALTH.

Both health networks are owned by Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical, which is experiencing a system-wide outage because of the cyberattack.

ECHN said its hospitals and affiliated providers are continuing to treat patients and its emergency departments are open.

Click view video to watch UConn Professor Laurent Michel's interview with NBC CT News.

View Video @ NBC Connecticut

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) Engr-cyberseed@uconn.edu

Nicole Ward (Synchrony) Nicole.Ward@syf.com

Technical (Synchrony) mark.underwood@syf.com

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.”