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1st Place Policy Prize At CSAW Global Cyber Competition Goes To Brown EMCS ’19-Based Team

Click the link that follows for more news about the Executive Master in Cybersecurity program.

We're proud to announce that a team of four members from the Brown University Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) Class of 2019 won first place in the policy category at CSAW’18, the world’s largest student-led hacking and security competition. The New York University Tandon School of Engineering hosted the policy portion of CSAW in the U.S., one of the event’s six international venues which combined totaled over 20,000 participants worldwide.

Winning team members from EMCS ’19 include Adam DiPetrillo, George Hasseltine, Joshua Snavely, and Chad Thiemann.

The Team’s Winning Proposal: Securing U.S. Election Infrastructure

Competing at NYU against 28 teams comprised of PhD, Master's, law school, and undergraduate students, the team chose as their topic, Policy Recommendations for Securing the U.S. Elections. In the wake of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, and its exposure of the vulnerability of the nation’s election infrastructure and voter registration databases at the state and municipal levels, the team asserted, “the question is not if, but when they will be breached,” and called on Congress to act immediately to ensure safe and secure elections.

In their memo to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, the team proposed legislation that would improve protection of the election infrastructure through:

  • Encryption and data protection,
  • Threat and vulnerability management, and
  • Process and institutional resiliency.

As part of CSAW’s submission requirement, the team created a three-minute video summarizing the proposed legislation and the urgency for it. In this jointly crafted quote, team members shared, "It was a great honor for all of us on the team to develop a winning proposal that addresses one of the biggest threats to our nation’s democracy – the vulnerability of our voter infrastructure system. Our success can be directly attributed to our teamwork and the support of our EMCS cohort and staff. Many kudos to the competition – their efforts significantly raised the bar. While the competition is over, our collective efforts are not complete. We must strive to continuously engage legislators and election officials to refine and implement such policies to secure our democracy."

Commenting on the team’s success, Brown University EMCS Program Director and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science Alan Usas said, "Placing first in the CSAW competition is a tremendous achievement by this outstanding team from the EMCS Class of 2019. They created a winning proposal that reflects the major tenant of the EMCS program that cybersecurity leadership lives at the intersection of policy, technology, privacy and human factors.  I look forward to seeing the team progress this plan to the next level."

In Brooklyn, where the EMCS team competed, some 100 professionals and faculty worked with NYU Tandon student leaders to create, judge, and organize the giant event, supported by 30 industry and government partners. The Borough President proclaimed November 8 as NYU Tandon CSAW 15th Anniversary Day in Brooklyn.

For more information about the CSAW 2018 winners, please see the NYU Tandon School of Engineering press release for this event or click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.