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RCC Cyber Security Students Place Fourth in Regional Hackathon

RCC Cyber Security Students Place Fourth in Regional Hackathon

RCC Cyber Security students

College is designated as a Center for Academic Excellence by national security agencies

DATE: October 31, 2018

RAMAPO, N.Y. – Rockland Community College posted a strong fourth-place showing out of eight teams at the inaugural NSA CAE Northeast Regional Hackathon, held October 12-13 and hosted by Mohawk Valley Community College. The event was held as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

RCC has been designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE-2Y) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Mohawk Valley CC, the Regional Resource Center for the Northeast, and RCC are the only community colleges in New York State to earn the CAE designation for cyber defense.

RCC Cyber Security Club members Stephen Venneman, Hillary Dickson and Victor Armaniaco compiled 951 points to place fourth behind Champlain College, 1,741 points; Pace University, 1,294; and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1,227. Other competing teams included Norwich College, County College of Morris, Mercy College and Penn State. Each college participated remotely from their respective campuses.

RCC competed head-to-head with the other schools in an attempt to prevent Mohawk Valley CC from infiltrating their individual systems. As Mohawk Valley tried to infiltrate the networks and bring down critical services, RCC's task was to harden its networks and defend attacks made by the hackers. Points were tallied for each attempt curtailed. The exercise enabled students to gain experience in discovering and patching vulnerabilities to thwart the threats, as well as repairing the systems when the attackers managed to gain entry.

“As with other cyber security competitions, this one was significant as the objective was to learn how systems can be penetrated so that we can learn how to defend and secure them,” said Jeanette Geller, RCC Professor of Cyber Security and faculty adviser for the Cyber Security Club. “As more and more of our information is being put online for convenience, securing that data is becoming more and more critical and our students are learning how to do this with hands-on competitions.”

The Hackathon was the most recent in a string of successful outings by students representing RCC. They have performed very well in three of the past four annual National Cyber League (NCL) competitions. The NCL is a capture-the-flag style competition that emphasizes skills from the CompTIA Security+™ and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certifications, including Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, and Web Application Security.

RCC has also topped Westchester Community College six of the past seven years in an annual springtime Computer Forensics Competition between the two colleges.

For more information about RCC's Cyber Security program, contact Jeanette Geller at 845-574-4577 or

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CONTACT: Strategic Marketing