IT Students Win Competition at Network Security Conference

Published 05.07.2014

Information Technology
Student News
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies News

Information technology students from Pennsylvania College of Technology distinguished themselves once again at a recent network security conference in Rochester, N.Y.

For the second consecutive year, students from Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies won the Hacker Battleship competition at the Security B-Sides Rochester Conference. The annual event features presentations from security industry experts and ethical “hacking” challenges to foster skill development in tomorrow’s IT leaders.

Penn College information technology students work on their laptops at the recent Security B-Sides Rochester Conference. From left, are Donald E. McCoy, Watsontown; Madelyn M. Lanoue, Dallastown; Barry A. Fedon, Nazareth; Joseph W. Bourgart, Warrington; Vitali Coroban, Ashburn, Va.; and Benjamin S. Welch, State College. (Photo by team member Charles S. Austin, Pottstown)The popular Hacker Battleship contest is modeled after the iconic Battleship game. A seven-by-seven grid contained 49 hacking-related challenges. Five points were awarded for solving a challenge, 10 for hitting a ship and 20 for sinking a ship. Once a challenge was solved, that square was revealed as a “hit” or a “miss,” and the problem was no longer available for others to solve.

“Everyone worked hard and found their niche. Each member had their strengths in specific areas, and the team meshed flawlessly,” said Joseph W. Bourgart, of Warrington, an information technology: information assurance and security concentration major. He also serves as president of the Information Security Association, a Penn College student organization.

In addition to Bourgart, other core members of the Penn College winning contingent included information technology: information assurance and security concentration majors Cody A. Amos, of Williamsport; Charles S. Austin, of Pottstown; Barry A. Fedon, of Nazareth; Zachary L. Lundberg, of Warren; Dylan M. Thomas, of Mount Joy; and Benjamin S. Welch, of State College.

Two other members of the team – Andrew J. Fricke, of Doylestown, and Donald E. McCoy, of Watsontown – are information technology: network specialist concentration majors.

“Students who participate in events like Hacker Battleship have the opportunity to enhance their ethical-hacking and penetration-testing skills,” said Sandra Gorka, associate professor of computer science. “Such competitions also provide an opportunity to develop teamwork skills.”

Penn College students who assisted the “Battleship team” at the competition were: Vitali Coroban, of Ashburn, Va.; Jerome T. Czachor, of Dickson City; Madelyn M. Lanoue, of Dallastown; Taylor R. Lapointe, of Pelham, N.H.; Lance R. Roan, of Linden; and Adam C. Stellfox, of Williamsport. All those students are information technology: information assurance and security concentration majors.

Other Penn College students attending the conference were Henri G. Alexandre Jr., of Pocono Summit; Peter W. Dabek, of Flemington, N.J.; Joseph M. Eak, of Bayville, N.J.; Trey S. Gibbs, of Huntingdon; Michael A. Gideon, of York; Sebastian J. Peipher, of Middleburg; Connor M. Ream, of Lititz; Dionisios D. Tomboris, of Dover; and Christopher J. Yanovich Jr., of Wilkes-Barre.

Alexandre, Eak, Gibbs and Tomboris are all information technology: information assurance and security concentration majors. Gideon, Peipher and Ream are information technology: network specialist concentration majors. Dabek is an information technology sciences: gaming and simulation major, and Yanovich majors in information technology: software development and information management.

Zack T. Wooding, portal designer/developer at the college, accompanied the students.

Two Penn College students, Tomboris and Lapointe, participated in the conference’s cryptography challenge designed by Darth Null. They completed 75 percent of the challenge.

“Conferences like this are a great experience for students,” Bourgart said. “We get to meet professionals in the industry and go to presentations about cutting-edge security research, cool tools and other various topics.”

“I’m very proud of how well our students did in the competition and that Penn College was represented by so many students at the conference,” Gorka said. “We hope for similar success and participation next year.”

For more about information technology majors and other programs in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.