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Hack attack!

Hack attack!

The coolest competition on a keyboard just might be Sheridan’s Capture the Flag IT Security contest, where IT students (ethically) hack and crack and their way to computer glory.

It’s the showdown at the silicon corral. In July of 2013, Sheridan launched its first-annual Capture the Flag IT Security contest. Nine teams of students from Sheridan’s Bachelor of Applied Information Science (Information Systems Security) program squared-off in a seven-hour battle of technical skill and creative cracking. Their task was to sneak into computer systems, decode cryptographic puzzles ― even pick padlocks ― in a quest to earn points and shoot to the top of standings.

“This type of activity is referred to as ethical hacking,” says Nicholas Johnston, Professor in the BAISc program and the event’s planner. “It hones a security professional’s skills so that they can outwit nefarious hackers and better protect IT systems from criminal intent.”

When the dust settled, the “drop table teams” were stood alone atop the standings. The top three squads received prizes generously donated by contest sponsors Control Gap Inc. and LCM Security Inc.

Yes, the hack-a-thon provides plenty of challenges, thrills and chills. But it also has a higher purpose: teach students in an engaging way how to stay one step ahead of hackers.

“This type of event exemplifies the talent and skill of the students from the BAISc(ISS) program, and it provides a terrific way to make learning hands-on and meaningful”, says Mark Orlando, Associate Dean, School of Applied Computing. “Our graduates are held in high regard in industry for their abilities in a variety of information security disciplines.”