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Search Narrows for World’s Top Student Hackers and Cybersecurity Protectors: Countdown to NYU CSAW Finals

World’s Largest Student-Led Security Competition Announces 400 Students Who Will Compete in Brooklyn, France, India, Israel, Mexico, and Tunisia

After besting a record-breaking 3,500 teams from more than 100 countries, an elite corps of high school, college, and graduate students will advance to the finals of the world’s biggest student-led cybersecurity contest: the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s annual CSAW games.

The scale of CSAW, in this, its 15th year, is evident in its global reach: 397 finalists from around the world will travel to academic sites across four continents to compete in the final rounds 8 November 2018- 11 November 2018

  • NYU Tandon in Downtown Brooklyn, New York
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT Kanpur)
  • Grenoble-INP Esisar in Valence, France
  • Ben-Gurion University and the University of Haifa in Israel (with IBM Research-Haifa and the IBM Cyber Security Center of Excellence)
  • Universidad Iberoamericana (Ibero) in Mexico City
  • Higher School of Communication of Tunis (Sup’Com) in Ariana, Tunisia

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More than bragging rights are at stake: NYU Tandon will offer more than $1 million in scholarships to all high school finalists in the CSAW Red Team Competition in Downtown Brooklyn. And the NYU Center for Cybersecurity will award full tuition and fellowships to first-place winners in three collegiate-level competitionsat all of the hubs. (Scholarships are contingent upon admission to NYU Tandon and satisfactory academic progress.)

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Competitions at CSAW, which was formed in 2003 as a small local competition by Nikhil Gupta, professor of computer science and engineering, have expanded to eight events, evolving to meet the changing threat landscape. The newest contest is Hack3D, which explores vulnerabilities in 3D printing. Meanwhile, the high school competition – once covering only forensic skills – now offers a taste of how corporations and institutions train defenders for real-world attacks.

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“For 15 years CSAW has changed and grown to reflect the manifold complexities of the threat landscape; but it is also a change agent for social good,” said Ramesh Karri, director of CSAW, professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYU Tandon, and co-founder and co-chair of the NYU Center for Cybersecurity. “Events like the Hardware Security Challenge generate new avenues of research leading to innovative approaches to defending devices we use every day; and competitions like the CSAW Red Team Challenge have inspired thousands of students to pursue fields with high demand for new talent and fresh ideas. We are especially gratified that CSAW has inspired students to pursue engineering, math and science who may have never have considered STEM fields otherwise.”

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Three all-girl high school teams will compete in Brooklyn this year – reflecting the longstanding commitment by NYU Tandon and CSAW to employ the games as a gateway to a field in which women comprise only 14 percent of the current workforce in the U.S.

Among them is a team from New York City Schools that participated in NYU Tandon’s summer intensive, Computer Science for Cyber Security, in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. It is part of NYU Tandon’s Center for K-12 STEM Education STEMNow program, one of the largest university-based K-12 STEM education programs in the city.  The other two all-girl teams come from schools that frequently produce CSAW finalists: Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose, California.

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