deloitte competitorsA team of students from Rensselaer presented an analysis and incident response approach to a simulated cyber attack in order to claim third place at the third annual Deloitte Foundation Cyber Threat Competition. Larry Li, Yuting Guo, and Zachary Minster, the school’s team members, each received $1,500 in scholarship money. The teams from Pennsylvania State University and University of Southern California placed first and second, respectively.

The Deloitte Foundation Cyber Threat Competition is designed and facilitated by Deloitte Advisory cyber risk services in order to help college students develop the skills needed to address increasingly sophisticated cyber risks in the marketplace.

“Organizations are facing significant challenges keeping pace with the rapidly evolving threat landscape and securing the talent needed to properly resource cybersecurity functions,” said Anthony Russo, principal with Deloitte Advisory, cyber risk services practice, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Beyond security table-stakes, today’s cybersecurity professional needs to understand both the technology risks and the business risks organizations face from cyber attacks in order to effectively protect the most vital business assets from insider and outsider threats.”

“The cybersecurity competition was an amazing learning opportunity, challenging us to think not just about the technical details of cyber threats, but their implications and effects within a large-scale organization,” said Li, a senior majoring in computer science and mathematics. “Our team had minimal communication preceding the event; despite this, and being down a member, we can cite our success as a product of quickly allocating responsibilities to best utilize our respective skillsets and making collective decisions on tasks outside our domain of knowledge.”

This year’s competition also featured a separate session for educators from the attending schools in Deloitte’s Greenhouse™ Lab. The labs are cutting-edge physical spaces located around the world designed to help participants tackle their complex problems. They apply a tested set of principles that combine behavioral science, analytics, technology, and facilitation to break through traditional methods of problem-solving. In the Greenhouse™ Lab, educators participated in a full-day of dynamic engagement and collaborative brainstorming exercises designed to equip educators with the tools they need to prepare the talent of tomorrow to meet the cyber-related needs of employers.

“The Deloitte Foundation recognizes the need to both close the cybersecurity skills gap in the workforce and to expand the bench of potential cybersecurity talent,” said Tonie Leatherberry, president, Deloitte Foundation. “We are encouraged that our Cyber Threat Competition is attracting high-performing students with a strong foundation of the STEM skills needed to develop a talented and deep pool of cybersecurity professionals.”