Lewis University alumnus Brandon Greene of Joliet was part of a three-person team to win the Illinois Cyber Security Challenge. Greene earned two degrees from Lewis University—a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in May 2011 and a Master of Science in Information Security in May 2013.
“The competition is a state-level recognition of outstanding cyber security talent,” explained Dr. Ray Klump, chair and professor of Mathematics and Computer Science. Klump is also director of the Master of Science in Information Security program.
Illinois Cyber Security Challenge is one of the events held as part of the United States Cyber Security Challenge (USCC) and it consisted of several stages. Over 1,000 students represented 400 American schools in the first round of the USCC.
Once Greene qualified, he completed a forensic analysis of network traffic documented in a packet capture (pcap) file. He had only 24 hours to examine the data and answer questions about the nature of the intrusion depicted in the file. After correctly responding to the questions, Greene moved to the next round, which required an essay about his desire to participate in the USCC.
Of all competitors in Illinois, Brandon's work in the first two stages qualified him to be among the 30 students to compete in the Illinois Summer Cyber Camp, which was held August 12 - 16 at Moraine Valley Community College.
At the Summer Cyber Camp, the 30 qualifiers received boot-camp style instruction for four days. Each day featured a different course that normally would span a week. The instruction covered the theory and practice of topics such as social engineering, Android penetration testing, network forensics and analysis, and tactical attacks. At the end of the fourth day, the students participated in the final phase of the competition, a capture-the-flag contest. For this part, the participants were divided into 10 teams of three people and were charged with the task of recovering specific secret data from a supposedly secure system. Greene’s team won first place in the Illinois Cyber Challenge.
“This is a tremendous honor for Brandon. He is an extremely talented cyber security professional whose skills are matched only by his genuine curiosity. He is also one of the friendliest, kindest, and most helpful people you could ever meet. Furthermore, he's really enthusiastic about and supportive of Computer Science at Lewis, having served as president of the department's social club, Prometheon, for several years and serving as a volunteer tutor for current computer science students. The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is very proud of Brandon Greene and thrilled for his success,” Klump added.
For eight years, the Master of Science in Information Security program has offered a curriculum that provides a balanced and effective mix of these skills. The program teaches concepts and skills from computer science and business to prepare students to address complex information security issues from a variety of angles: how vulnerabilities arise, how they can be identified, and how they can be addressed; how risks can be identified and prioritized; how security programs can be planned and resourced; and how plans and policies must balance legal, financial, technical, and ethical concerns.
Lewis University has been recognized by the National Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. In addition to the Master of Science in Information Security program, which is offered both online and on campus, the university also has undergraduate programs in Computer Science (which includes a Concentration in Cyber Security Operations), Management Information Systems, and fast-track programs that enable majors in the undergraduate programs to earn their Masters in Information Security in five years.
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