NYU Abu Dhabi students win at global student cybersecurity games

Students test their skills against each other in a global cyber defence showdown

Cole Beasley and Pedro Velasquez won the Hack3D event that focused on anti-counterfeiting methods in 3D printing.
Cole Beasley and Pedro Velasquez won the Hack3D event that focused on anti-counterfeiting methods in 3D printing.

Two NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) students have won first place in the Hack3D competition as part of CSAW, a prestigious global student-led cybersecurity competition.

Organised by the NYU Centre for Cybersecurity, the cyber challenge was held in six international CSAW hubs and employed contests to advance research in the areas of cybersecurity that are yet to be explored.

NYUAD Computer Science undergraduate students, Cole Beasley and Pedro Velasquez, won the Hack3D event that focused on anti-counterfeiting methods in 3D printing. Competitors were first tested in reverse engineering a 3D CAD model, and during the final round, teams were given a plastic female connector object to an unknown piece and an STL file which contained information for a 3D printer.

Beasley and Velasquez were able to identify critical geometrical points and create a piece which would match and connect with the initial object. Beasley commented, “This competition was a great experience. Through the extent of the challenge, we had to think and approach the presented problem with differing skill sets to complete one single task. Between the actual challenge presented to us as well as the interactions with the sponsors through the business fair and technical talks, Hack3d and CSAW as a whole was a valuable learning tool for anyone interested in the cybersecurity field."

Velasquez added, “CSAW 19 was full of rewarding moments after every problem solved. We still have a lot to learn about cybersecurity and we are very excited for next year.”

To earn spots in the final rounds, this year’s contestants bested 1,225 teams from 90 countries. At the finals for the United States and Canada, students won cash prizes, and NYU Tandon offered more than $1 million in scholarships to high school competitors. Additional prizes were awarded to contestants at the other academic hubs.

NYU Tandon Professor, leader of CSAW 2019 and NYU Centre for Cybersecurity Ramesh Karri, said, “The finalists’ creativity, dedication, and mettle put them on a trajectory to become leaders in a field whose importance to our institutions and economies cannot be overstated. Our congratulations go out to them and to the faculty and mentors who encouraged and helped educate them.”

CSAW started as a contest for NYU Tandon School of Engineering students nearly two decades ago. It has since grown to include simultaneous final competitions at schools in France, India, UAE, Mexico and beyond.

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