students working on computers in one room
students working on computers in one room
UH West Oʻahu cyber security students

A team of University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu cyber security students placed first in its bracket in the Fall 2017 National Cyber League (NCL) Season, helping to propel it to an overall second place out of 184 teams nationally.

The team competed in Gold—the highest competitive level of the three brackets—which is open to experienced players with the highest levels of knowledge and skills. Only the top 15 percent of players compete in this category.

NCL provides a cybersecurity training ground in a game-like environment that requires participants to work individually in regular season and in teams during postseason games. The competition is designed for participants to solve real problems, with actual deadlines, under enormous time, technical and resource constraints.

West Oʻahu team has proven competition track record

The 10-student team faced off against other teams from across the United States, which included undergraduate and graduate students and cyber security professionals. The team consisted of members of the Hawaiʻi Advanced Technology Society (HATS), a student organization with an enviable competition track record competing in the NCL competition. This year’s competitors were Bryan Tanaka, Tim Gunderson, Catherine Sarte, Gabriel Farinas, Marvin Arnold Buenafe, Taylor Kina, Justin Cobbs, Kimberly Matsumoto, Robert Kuakini and Christopher-Joshua Ulep.

A second UH West Oʻahu team finished 25th overall nationally.

The team competed in nine categories, coming in first nationally in four:

  • Network traffic analysis.
  • Wireless exploitation.
  • Enumeration and exploitation.
  • Password cracking (the UH West Oʻahu team was the only one to crack 100 percent of passwords).

“Our students never cease to amaze me, not only in terms of their technical expertise, but their dedication and work ethic that make them the best in the nation,” said Matthew A. Chapman, UH West Oʻahu associate professor of information technology and cybersecurity. “The solid cybersecurity foundation that many of the students learn at UH community colleges, including Honolulu Community College, Leeward Community College, and Kapiʻolani Community College, is a driving force in their continued success.”

For more on the competition, read E Kamakani Hou.

—By Greg Wiles