DSU graduate student places 2nd in Symantec Cyber Readiness Challenge

Adam Klindworth, a Dakota State University graduate student pursuing a master of science in information assurance, placed 2nd in the Symantec Cyber Readiness Challenge in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Klindworth found out about the Challenge from a 2012 DSU computer and network security graduate, Devon Greene, who also participated in the event and finished in 3rd place.

The Symantec Challenge was a ‘capture the flag’ (CTF) event where participants did reconnaissance on a network by breaking into the network based on the password they recovered. They then gathered information around the internal network to prove a past security/intrusion event. The participants had a chance to capture various other flags around the network that gave them points towards their final score.

Klindworth’s DSU education that focuses on computer security prepared him for the event. “It’s what the program is built around. The DSU curriculum is technical in nature and prepares you for hacking/security events like these.”

The competition was designed for all levels of technical expertise that puts participants in the hacker's shoes to understand their targets, technology and thought processes so they can ultimately better protect their company or agency. The Challenge helps participants to sharpen their security skills, expand their security awareness, implement theoretical knowledge and compete against their peers.

Klindworth explained the most valuable knowledge for him to have during the CTF event, “For me, the most useful thing was pivoting. We learned about it during my DSU classes, but this was my chance to do it in a real world environment. Pivoting is when you get access to one machine on the network that has access to the internal network; you can use that machine as a pivot to that internal network."

Bringing together some of the world's leading experts in IT security, the innovative competition offered a keynote presentation on the current security landscape by renowned security experts and provided a fantastic environment for networking and knowledge sharing.

Klindworth encourages others to participate in similar CTF events held around the country. “These events are good scenarios to build your skills on. If people have the opportunity in the future, they should participate in any CTF event. Almost every conference has a CTF event. You can also find free events online.”

For winning 2nd place in the event, Klindworth was awarded $1000 and also received an Apple TV. Greene was awarded a $750 prize for 3rd place and a Kindle Fire for his efforts.

Klindworth is from Fargo, N.D. and is set to graduate in May 2013 from Dakota State University in Madison, S.D.

Last Updated: 4/2/13