IT Security Doesn't Have to be All Work and No Play

Two members of the OCIO Security Team were recently named “Capture the Flag” champs. Senior Security Engineer Sol Ford and Associate Director, OCIO Security, Steve Romig competed in a Jeopardy!-style battle of wits and technical skill during the Security Professionals Conference May 6-8, sponsored by EDUCAUSE.

The Capture the Flag (CTF) Competition consisted of different categories of problems for security experts to solve, ranging from forensics and history to reverse engineering. Continuing in each category increased the difficulty and the points to be awarded, consistent with the Jeopardy! game show. CTF games in the IT security realm are great training tools and generate a professional playing field for honing in on hacking (and anti-hacking) skills.

Romig said “I was in the lead until shortly before the lunch break, when Sol pulled ahead. He kept his lead after lunch to win the contest later in the afternoon…well done, Sol!”

One of the CTF coordinators, Warren Raquel of the University of Illinois confirmed that Ford finished first and Romig finished second out of 19 total participants from various universities and technology companies.

Security Engineer Mark Runals also attended the conference, delivering a presentation on Splunk and discussing how to utilize the software in large academic environments.

“There were lots of opportunities for networking with members of other security teams,” said Romig, “and we got confirmation for some of the things we're already doing as well as good ideas for future projects.”

Senior Security Analyst Charlie Smith said “It’s great that our team has these opportunities available, to learn from other experts and showcase their talents. Their Capture the Flag win is a win for university security efforts.”