The Nevada Cyber Club locked down seventh place out of a field of 470 teams in the National Cyber League (NCL) Fall 2022 Competition; the team was recognized for their efforts Feb. 3.
Bill Chan, regional representative for Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto’s office, congratulated the group and handed out certificates to team members and to Professor Bill Doherty, an adjunct faculty in the Cybersecurity Center who shepherds the team through the competitions.
“The club wants to win, but they also want to keep the competition fun and use it to help motivate and train all club members,” Doherty said. “This attitude of working together to build their skills is really their biggest accomplishment.”
NCL prepares future cybersecurity professionals by providing biannual competitions in which competitors solve real-world cybersecurity challenges. The Nevada Cyber Club, currently boasting a membership of 112, has been involved in the competitions since spring 2017. The team ranked No. 1 in the spring 2019 competition, and consistently appears in the top 10 NCL power rankings.
But it’s not all about winning.
“Competitions are one of the best ways for people to learn technical cybersecurity topics, as they provide a safe and legal way for those in cyber to practice their technical cybersecurity skills,” club member Kameron Bettridge said. “These competitions can also be some of the only ways that someone can get hands-on experience in areas like incidence response or website exploitation, as setting up scenarios can be difficult alone.”
All-women’s team competes again
Twenty-three Cyber Club student members joined the individual competition and three teams of seven participated in the team competition last fall. One of three teams was an all-women team the club put together to form a community where women with more cybersecurity experience could mentor newcomers.
“My very first NCL team competition was with UNR’s first all-women’s team in Spring 2021, which was an incredible introduction to the field and sparked the passion I have for cybersecurity now,” club member Marissa Floam said. “The club has given me the foundation of a broad set of tools I will use in my future career, including log and network analysis, forensics, password cracking, and many others.”
The NCL Fall 2022 Competition had two parts: the individual portion took place Oct. 21-23 and the team portion took place Nov. 4-6. NCL has two competition seasons every year that line up with the academic year.
“I feel extremely proud for our students in the Nevada Cyber Club as well as all the interdisciplinary faculty members who are dedicating their efforts for the UNR Cybersecurity Center,” Computer Science & Engineering Professor and Cybersecurity Center Executive Director Shamik Sengupta said. “In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Bill Doherty for his effort in coaching the Nevada Cyber Club and making UNR’s cybersecurity program nationally visible.”