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UMUC Takes Top Undergraduate Spot In 2013 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge

UMUC Cyber Padawans Triumph in Global Competition Aimed at Spurring Innovation in Cybersecurity

Bob Ludwig
By Bob Ludwig
  • Current Students |
  • Media

ADELPHI, MD - A team of undergraduate students at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) finished atop the standings for their category in the 2013 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge, an international competition that attracted some of the brightest minds in the cybersecurity business.

The four-member UMUC squad, known as the Cyber Padawans, scored 5,106 points in the contest—more than any other undergraduate team—and finished fourth overall in a field of 1,254 teams from 49 countries that included computer security experts representing military and civilian government agencies and corporations in addition to undergraduate, graduate, community college and high school students.

"This is a real tribute to the quality of UMUC's cybersecurity program," said Jeff Tjiputra, academic director of the computer networks and security program and coach of the Cyber Padawans. "We have very good students, and a lot of them already have experience in the field. They're really smart, and they pick things up really fast."

The UMUC team included Jean Costello, who served as captain, Will Evertsen, Rick Hidalgo and Dustin Noe.

"I wanted to grow my digital forensics skills and represent UMUC," said Costello. "This was a great team experience, and it definitely helped prepare me for a job in cybersecurity."

Sponsored by the U.S. Air Force's Defense Cyber Crime Center, or DC3, the nearly year-long competition was designed to stoke interest in the cybersecurity field, build relationships among computer security professionals, and encourage the development of tools and techniques to protect computer networks. Teams tackled a range of exercises at varying levels of difficulty, with harder problems worth more points. Exercises at the higher end of the scale had no known solution, requiring competitors to come up with responses that demonstrated their ability to devise innovative, promising methods for dealing with vexing cybersecurity challenges.

UMUC's success in the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge builds on the institution's tradition of excellence in attracting highly capable cybersecurity professionals to its student and faculty ranks. In October, two UMUC teams, one comprised of students another made up of faculty and alumni, each won first place in their respective divisions in the Maryland Cyber Challenge.

About University of Maryland University College

University of Maryland University College (UMUC), part of the University System of Maryland, is a world leader in innovative educational models, with award-winning online programs in disciplines including biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, and information technology that are in high demand in today's increasingly technical, global workplace.

UMUC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission—to meet the learning needs of nontraditional students whose responsibilities may include jobs, family, and military service. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees, a doctoral program, and certificate programs.

UMUC faculty comprise scholar-practitioners who have distinguished themselves in their fields as well as in the classroom. The university is renowned for its online student support services, which include 24/7 access to information and library services with more than 100 online databases. UMUC also offers evening and weekend courses on-site at more than 20 locations in the Maryland-Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area and serves the educational needs of the U.S. military in 24 countries around the world.

A pioneer in distance education since 1947, UMUC today is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high quality education that is accessible and affordable.