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UMUC Sweeps Maryland Cyber Challenge Competition

UMUC Cybersecurity teams capture titles in collegiate and pro divisions

Bob Ludwig
By Bob Ludwig
  • Cyber Padawans |
  • Media

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) swept both divisions of the Maryland Cyber Challenge yesterday, capturing first place in the collegiate and pro divisions. The cyber security competition was part of the third annual CyberMaryland conference held at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Each member of the first-place team in the collegiate division won a $5,000 scholarship cash prize. Members of the first-place pro team each won a $2,000 cash prize.

The Capture the Flag competition required teams to score points by hacking into a server and planting a flag (i.e., a digital signature) in that server. Points were also scored when a team hacked into a server and planted their flag. In some cases, other teams may have planted their own flag on that server, so the new team needs to remove the first team’s flag first before they can plant their own. The team with the most points after a six-hour time period was declared the winner.

When the winning UMUC Cybersecurity collegiate team was announced, "we all looked at each other in disbelief because the competition was tough," said Matt Matchen, the team's captain. "It was a great feeling. We all put in a lot of effort to prepare. It was amazing to see everyone’s hard work come together."

Members of UMUC’s collegiate division championship team, known as the UMUC Cyber Padawans, included Matchen and students John Arneson, Tenelle Brinkley, Rodrigo Cabrera, Kwasi Robinson, and Mark Stevenson.

The UMUC pro division team (faculty and alumni) included Manish Patel (captain and faculty member), Steve Choyce (faculty), Stephan Gross (alumnus), David Um (alumnus), Armando Quintananieves (alumnus), Chris Kuehl (alumnus), and Chi-yun Kwei Chiang (coach and faculty).

Patel was excited about the victory but focused on how the competition was beneficial to him as a teacher and a professional in the field.

"It keeps your skills sharp and just being here helps you make business connections," Patel said to Emily Kimball in an article for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. "This isn't necessarily what we're doing on a daily basis, so these are new skills that we are learning also. I'm a teacher, so I can go back and share these skills with my students."