The 2018 SEC Academic Conference was held at Auburn University April 8-10th, with faculty and students from the Cybersecurity Center representing Texas A&M. The conference, entitled Cyber Security: A Shared Responsibility, explored computer and communication technology; the economic and physical systems that are controlled by technology; and the policies and laws that govern and protect information stored, transmitted and processed with technology.
The second annual SEC Academic Conference provided an opportunity to showcase SEC faculty and student research in an area of significant scholarly interest to a range of academic, legislative and other stakeholders. It featured keynote speakers as well as presentations from individuals representing each of the SEC’s 14 member universities.
This year’s keynote address featured Ray Rothrock, Texas A&M ’77, presenting Infrastructure: IoT, Enterprise, Cyber Physical. Mr. Rothrock is a venture capitalist and is currently the CEO of RedSeal, Inc. He obtained his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University followed by his S.M. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. His book, Digital Resilience: Is Your Company Ready for the Next Cyber Threat? addresses the bare tactics used by hackers, vulnerabilities lurking in networks, and strategies not just for surviving attacks, but thriving even while under assault. In addition to Mr. Rothrock’s talk on infrastructure, a panel of TAMU representatives was featured as an additional experience for conference attendees.
The conference began with the SEC CyberChallenge where students from each SEC university competed in a problem-solving activity. The competition highlighted a real-world cyber security problem presented by Equifax, and teams had nearly 48 hours to develop a solution in a “hackathon” style challenge. Each team could include both undergraduate and graduate members and required faculty oversight. To kickoff the challenge, executives from Equifax, the Atlanta-based global information solutions company, explained the simulated problem, and teams then worked at their own pace to devise a solution. At the conclusion of the challenge, each team conducted a 10 minute presentation to describe and demonstrate its solution to a panel industry experts. Team members representing Texas A&M University included Andrew Meserole, Erin Kuffel, Andrew Laramore, Dylan Furlong, Colton Riedel, and Ivan Sauerzopf. The team developed an excellent solution to the presented issue and represented Texas A&M’s cyber efforts with excellence.
In addition to the cyber challenge, each SEC member institution was expected to organize an exhibit booth to form the University Exhibit Hall at the Academic Conference. The main goal of the Exhibit Hall was to allow each institution to provide additional information regarding its work in the SEC Academic Conference’s subject matter, thereby complimenting the formal presentations by the university’s faculty. Students from SEC institutions were also invited to present their cybersecurity research during the simultaneous poster exhibition.
“The poster exhibitors offered an array of research for SEC Academic Conference attendees to consider and judge in the area of cybersecurity,” said Dr. Torie A. Johnson, SECU Executive Director. “The research presented ranged from USB to cloud computing to blockchain technology. The breath of opportunities to address this significant issue was on display.”
The posters were judged by all conference attendees and members of the event advisory board. The top three submissions were announced during the awards ceremony at the Auburn Arena. Two TAMU students, Zachary Ratliff and Colton Riedel, presented their research at the Conference with Mr. Riedel winning third place with his research poster titled “Securing Timing and GNSS Signals for Critical Infrastructure.” The Cybersecurity Center would like to congratulate these individuals for their accomplishment and commend the hard work they have put in to demonstrate their own abilities and the academic endeavors of Texas A&M University.