Cyber club places second

Students implement computer safety techniques to succeed in regional finals

TECHNIQUE  — Members of the Cyber Defense Club put their knowledge to the test and succeeded in the regional finals. Photo credit: Danae Samms

TECHNIQUE — Members of the Cyber Defense Club put their knowledge to the test and succeeded in the regional finals. Photo credit: Danae Samms

Liberty University’s Cyber Defense Club placed second in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition at Johns Hopkins University March 28 – 29.

After placing top eight at the virtual qualifier for the competition, which was done remotely from Liberty’s campus, the Cyber Defense Club, which teaches students computer security techniques, was invited to Johns Hopkins for the regional finals.

Dr. Mark Shaneck, associate professor of computer science at Liberty, led the Cyber Defense Club and was with them at Johns Hopkins for the competition.

“(The virtual qualifier was) … a three-hour competition, a scaled down version,” Shaneck said. “We were in the top eight, and we got to progress to the next level, which was the regional finals.”

According to Shaneck, this was the Cyber Defense Club’s first appearance in the regional finals, and at the end of the weekend, they had won second place.

“The scenario this year was the cyber blizzard,” Shaneck said. “It was the idea of a massive snowstorm in Maryland, and they weren’t prepared for it, so it’s disaster management time.”

Shaneck explained that the competition incorporated professionals from the military and other software companies trying to hack into the students’ systems. The goal was to get the software back up and running during this blizzard, all the while blocking out the hackers who were trying to force their way past the computer security.

“It was pretty intense,” Shaneck said. “They were going nonstop from 9 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.).”

According to Shaneck, Liberty’s team captain, Hannah Kirse, was really challenged in this competition but held strong throughout, especially when she was given a mock interview by the “supervisor.”

“The hackers had destroyed the machine she was going to use to type up the report, so she hand-wrote the report in a notebook,” Shaneck said. “She brought it in, and the guy tore it up. He was really hard on her, but she handled herself so well that she actually received the highest points in that area. So out of all the team interviews, we got the highest amount of points in that round.”

Shaneck said Towson University took first place, and Radford University came in third.

The Cyber Defense Club is a club on campus that is open to all students.

Shaneck said any student looking to get involved with the team or get more information about the events they take part in should email or find the club on Facebook at

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