Terra State cybersecurity students place 14th overall in national competition

Cybersecurity student
Cybersecurity student working on a task as part of the NSA Codebreaker Challenge.

Terra State Community College cybersecurity students completed the annual National Security Agency (NSA) Codebreaker Challenge, finishing in 14th place out of 452 schools.

33 students participated in two phases of challenges that started back in October. Students applied their computer skills about cracking passwords, social engineering, complex mathematic computations and reverse engineering software to solve problems in a fictional story.

“The challenge presented many great opportunities for students to develop their creative cybersecurity skills that they have gained throughout their time at Terra State,” said Mike Daigneault, assistant professor in Terra State’s computer information systems program, “All of the students showed their creativity in creating solutions for each task and went above and beyond. There is a great sense of pride with these students and I know each of them will go far in life.”

Terra State’s team outplaced large four-year institutions such as Purdue University, Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University.

Austin Douglas, computer information systems, systems and networking support student, was eager to work hands-on with his classmates.

“The NSA challenge was truly something wild,” said Douglas, “There were questions based on basic IT, math and complex puzzles…I will never forget the adrenaline rush we all got when we are sitting in a room together. The room is deafly quiet. Everybody is trying to work out the problem until somebody figures out the answer and the class just erupts into excitement. I think that is the one memory I'll always look back on when I think of Terra State.”

Listen to Mike Daigneault talk about the challenge on 96.7 FM with Keith and Dawn.