ECU technology students travel to cybersecurity conference

More than a dozen students in the East Carolina University Department of Technology Systems took their classroom learning on the road to Raleigh during the Information Systems Security Association’s (ISSA) InfoSeCon Conference.

The annual event draws 1,500 attendees and 75 sponsor vendors each year, offering technical talks from industry leaders in areas of cybersecurity and the chance for students to network with technology professionals from North Carolina and abroad.

ECU students, from left, James Edwards, Vadim Komshin and Kenly Montes participate in a capture the flag cybersecurity competition during the Information Systems Security Association’s InfoSeCon Conference in Raleigh. (Contributed photo)

The conference also offered ECU students the chance to compete in a capture the flag cybersecurity competition in which ECU teams took second and third places.

“Not only did we have the opportunity to compete in capture the flag competitions alongside industry professionals, we also were able to attend several keynote talks focusing on cybersecurity and the future of the industry,” said Benjamin Lumsden, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology student with a concentration in cybersecurity. “My personal highlights include a talk on quantum computers in relation to cryptography, the team-building experience of capture the flag with the ECU team, as well as the (cybersecurity) lock-picking village.”

Lumsden attended the conference for the first time with ECU’s ISSA student organization and the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition team.

“Not only would I suggest every cybersecurity student to become active within the community by attending, these events also greatly increase your understanding of the industry outside of an academic setting,” he said.

Kenly Montes is a computer science major with a minor in information and cybersecurity technology.

“I’m still very new to cybersecurity, so for me it was a learning experience,” she said of the conference. “I would say that the capture the flag challenge was difficult and not beginner-friendly, but it is a good way to get exposure to this type of stuff.”

Students and faculty from ECU helped run the conference. Students had specific roles that included support of audio/visual equipment for presenters and management of room assignments and schedules. Technology Systems faculty members Steve Baker and Dr. Biwu Yang helped with transportation, and the entire team helped with conference setup two hours before it began and breakdown after it concluded, making for a 13-hour day.

The Department Technology Systems also hosted a demonstration table staffed by faculty member Amy Frank who provided attendees with information on the department’s programs. Department alumni also attended the conference and gathered for a photograph with current students, and afterward broke out into a “purple-gold” chant.

For more information on ECU’s ISSA student chapter, email Steve Baker, faculty advisor for the organization.