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New cybersecurity team hosts their first meeting with goals of competing in national competitions | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware | #hacking | #aihp

By: Abigail Sanchez

Anderson Cyber Team hosted their first official meeting last Thursday evening on Jan. 26, 2024. Team President, Tai Van Dam, and Vice President, Dylan Lemon, led their meeting under the guidance of Staff Advisor, Professor Matthew Burch. This first meeting allowed the team to gauge other’s interest in the team and come up with what their goals are for the future.

The Anderson Cyber Team is focused on team building events and practicing cybersecurity skills for real life applications. They hope to use this as an opportunity to engage in simulations and other professional development opportunities related to cybersecurity, information security and ethical security research.

When asked about the team, Van Dam said, “I’m excited to use the Anderson Cyber Team as a way of building community with other people as passionate about cybersecurity as I am. I am hopeful that this team will be a way to share ideas and work together outside of classes in order to pursue projects and skills in cybersecurity.” 

Some of the different events that they plan to compete in are the National Center of Academic Excellence (NCAE) Cyber Games and the picoCTF Hacking Competition. The Anderson Cyber Team feels that these different competitions are an important way to build on skills that they have and create a deeper understanding about the cybersecurity field.

Jaden Soller, the treasurer, said, “Capture the Flag (CTF) and cyber competitions are an engaging way for cybersecurity students and individuals interested in technology to develop their technical and soft skills by performing a variety of different tasks. However, one of the greater aspects of cyber competitions is that it provides students opportunities to develop and demonstrate soft skills such as leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking— the attributes that employers look for above technical expertise.”

They will also be participating in the NCAE Sandbox competitions which will allow them to practice their skills and see how they work as a team before jumping into the major competitions. 

They originally tried to start the team last year but because of everyone’s busy schedules, it was put on the back burner until recently. This fall, the Center for Security Studies and Cyber Defense (CSSCD) thought that it would be beneficial to create the team as a way to allow the Anderson Community in developing cybersecurity skills that would assist members in finding new talents for future job opportunities.

While the CSSCD does not dictate what the team does, they are excited to provide any support that the team may require. One of the goals of the team is to include students from all class levels so finding underclassmen who are willing and qualified to be a part of the team members was important.

Freshman Michael Smelser, was selected for the role as secretary. Smelser said, “I am humbled to serve as the secretary of the Anderson Cyber Team. I look forward to building a community within the Computer Science Department at Anderson University and I hope to make new friends! Additionally, learning and practicing new cybersecurity skills will be an invaluable experience that will enhance my education now and my future career.” 

The Anderson Cyber Team is excited to see what the future holds for them. Lemon said, “The Anderson Cyber Team is something that I’ve been wanting to create for three years now and it’s awesome that we can finally get it up and running! We want to invite everyone who has any level of experience and interest in cybersecurity or computer science to check it out.”

Anyone interested in computer science or cybersecurity can join the team. They have weekly meetings at 5:00 pm on Thursdays at Decker Hall in Room 346.

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