UMUC Congratulates Its Maryland Cyber Challenge Finalists

Two teams reached the final round of eight in the college division at the Maryland Cyber Challenge cybersecurity competition, held Oct. 21-22, 2011, in Baltimore, Md.


By Kerry O’Neill (koneill@mghus.com) |   October 28, 2011

ADELPHI, MD (October 28, 2011)—UMUC today congratulated two teams of competitors that reached the finals of the Maryland Cyber Challenge—the UMUC Cyber Dragons, representing the Graduate School of Management and Technology, and the UMUC Cyber Padawans, representing the School of Undergraduate Studies. The Maryland Cyber Challenge was sponsored by SAIC, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the Tech Council of Maryland, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development.

UMUC Cyber Dragons

Dr. Jim Chen (third from right) stands with members of the UMUC Cyber Dragons at the Maryland Cyber Challenge.

The UMUC Cyber Dragons were coached by Jim Chen with assistance from Alkalifa Samke. Team members included:

  • Lesa Bowden
  • Jeremy Lange
  • James “Jeeves” Murphy
  • Mimi Ngay
  • Nick Walker
  • William Yeager

The UMUC Cyber Padawans were coached by Jeff Tjiputra (team leader), along with Paul Bicknell, Steve Choyce, Stephen Nieberding, and Manish Patel. Team members included:

Cyber Padawans

Members of the UMUC Cyber Padawans compete in the third and final round of the Maryland Cyber Challenge.

  • Doug Chaffee (co-captain)
  • Christopher Kuehl (co-captain)
  • Hamid “David” Ahmadpour
  • Angela Jenkins
  • Alfred Eric Jones
  • Matt Matchen

A total of 52 teams competed for one of eight spots in each of three final divisions—high school, college, and professional; both UMUC teams competed in the college division. In the first round of competition, team members were asked to “harden” networks and computer systems against intrusions, identifying vulnerabilities on Windows and Linux systems and applying the appropriate security patches. In the second round, they were tasked with evaluating systems that had been compromised, conducting forensic investigations, and providing detailed assessments of the penetrations and how they had affected the systems. In the final, six-hour round of competition, team members shifted from defense to offense, working together to “plant flags” (i.e., break into) 11 separate servers while collecting as many “artifacts” (i.e., vital system files, user names and passwords, etc.) as possible from the servers.

Cyber Challenge Teams

UMUC Provost Greg von Lehmen (center) stands with team members who represented UMUC in the finals of the Maryland Cyber Challenge.

While team members were disappointed not to take home the top prize in the event (first- and second-place honors went to two other University System of Maryland schools, Towson University and University of Maryland, College Park, respectively), all were enthusiastic about the experience they gained and eager to return for next year’s competition.

Said UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge, “We couldn't be more proud that our two teams of ‘cyber warriors’ reached the finals of the Maryland Cyber Challenge and represented UMUC so well. We thank them for their skill and hard work, and we are grateful, too, that as they take their skills and abilities into the workforce, we can sleep a little better at night knowing that they will be doing their part to make our data and critical infrastructures that much less vulnerable to attack.”