The UT Dallas’ Cyber Security Research and Education Institute (CSI) in conjunction with the UT Dallas Computer Science department hosted their 5th Annual Texas Security Awareness Week (TexSAW) 2015. TexSAW 2015 gathered CS students from across Texas who were from across Texas who were interested in pursuing computer security and were interested in expanding their knowledge of cyber security. Forty-eight people from ten different Texas universities attended the event.
This year’s event featured student workshops addressing the development of several fundamental hands-on skills in cyber security-related topics including server hardening, web security, and penetration testing. UT Dallas students taught the workshops with Corrin Thompson and Jiayang Wang presenting on Web Security, Moses Ike and Paul Murley presenting on Server Hardening, and Fred Araujo, Carter Poe, Mahdi Shapouri, and Nathan Ritchey presenting on Penetration Testing (presentations).
Students applied the tools they learned from the workshops during the Cyber Security Capture-the-Flag (CTF) Competition. The three-hour competition provided students with more than 20 challenges in various areas of cyber security including web security, exploitation, reverse engineering, and cryptography. First place went to team “John_Cena,” which included Ashton-Drake Giddings and Daniel Lopez from TAMU San Antonio, second place went to team “Hackero,” consisting of Manuel Hernandez and Jose Rios from UT Rio Grande Valley, and third place went to team “Letu,” consisting of Brian Scott and Ann Jones from LeTourneau University. After the competition, students received their awards and were then shown the solutions to the problems.
Dr. Kamil Sarac, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and CSI director of education, organized TexSAW for the fifth straight year. He noted, “the attendees from other Texas colleges/universities find an opportunity to learn fundamental cyber security skills via the workshops offered at TexSAW and put these skills into practical use by participating in the mini competition. It is exciting to see how both the leaders and the participants grow as a result of this event. This is the type of event that is beneficial not only to the participants, but also to the student leaders.” He went on to explain that “UT Dallas’ Scholarship for Service (SFS) students and Computer Security Group (CSG) – our cyber security student club at UT Dallas – officers work together in teams to create a successful program of three cyber security workshops and a mini cyber security competition featuring two dozen or so questions for TexSAW. Another UT Dallas SFS student team builds, deploys, and administers several server systems to host and run the competition.”
Kevin Ates of the Dallas FBI attended TexSAW 2015 as the keynote speaker. He spoke about his duties and responsibilities while working as a computer specialist for the Dallas FBI cyber security division in addition to their responses to recent world events.
The 5th Annual TexSAW event would not have been possible if it were not for the hard work and dedication of Drs. Kamil Sarac and Bhavani Thuraisingham, executive director of the CSI, coupled with the assistance of Ms. Rhonda Walls. Next year, TexSAW may extend involvement in the event to UT Dallas undergraduate students.
Photos from the event
For more photos from the event please click here to view the Flickr album.
About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.