Cybersecurity Team Preps for Game Day

Training for the world's largest cybersecurity competition is no sweat for this year’s Masters Cybersecurity Team.

The team members, Dayan Battulga ’23, Nataliia Kulieshova ’23, Leo Shatzoff ’23, Teddy Meyer ’24, Ihor Makhynia ’24, Eugene Hwang ’24, Alice Fuller ’25, Mohan Zhang ’26 and Carlo Assam ’26, have spent many hours preparing for the upcoming CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition XV on October 15. Through a series of online competition rounds, CyberPatriot challenges teams of high school and middle school students to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems. The top teams go on to earn national recognition and scholarship money.

Faculty advisor John Chiodo, director of innovation, engineering and computer science, predicts this will be “a great season” and described what a training practice involves. “I will install three computer server images (Ubuntu, Windows and Windows Servers) on three different computers,” he explained. “Working in groups, the students have six hours to find all of the security flaws in each image and patch them.”

An optimistic Meyer is returning for his third year. “We have been working hard to modify and create checklists and procedures for each type of computer system we will encounter,” he said. “There are many new members who bring new expertise, so after last year's first place finish in the Gold Division of New York State, this team is more than ready to tackle this year's new challenge.”

Makhynia arrived at Masters this year from his native Ukraine and was encouraged to put his passion for computers, coding and fast-paced problem solving to good use.

“Cybersecurity is increasingly critical in the modern world, and we’ve already seen how effective cyber warfare could be in the war in my home country,” he said. “The disruption of Russian systems has already saved tens of thousands of lives, both civilian and in the Ukrainian army.” 

As the team inches closer to competition day, their hard work and collaboration have already paid off. The dedicated students found a timesaving tool to automate routine corrections but Chiodo points out their biggest strength: “The team is excited to be doing this and interested in learning new things. It is difficult to put a price tag on that.”

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