The Charger Blog

University’s Connecticut Institute of Technology Hosts Regional Penetration Testing Competition

The Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition provides a fun way for students to gain real-world experience outside the classroom. The University recently hosted the New England regional qualifier, welcoming students from several area schools.

January 23, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Chargers competing as part of the regional qualifier.
Chargers competing as part of the regional qualifier.

Nicholas Dubois ’24 and his fellow members of the University’s hacking team recently spent a weekend on campus using their knowledge and skills to identify weaknesses in a corporate environment without impacting business operations. Their “client” was a fictious company in the hotel and hospitality industry.

As part of the competition, students “worked for” a fictious company.
As part of the competition, students “worked for” a fictious company.

The simulation was part of a regional qualifier of Global Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC). It enables students to play the role of professional penetration testers, and they meet and present their work to representatives of the mock company that hired them. The University’s Connecticut Institute of Technology (CIT) hosted the New England Regional for the fourth time, welcoming students from area schools such as West Point and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“It was great to have CPTC hosted on our campus for the first time since I have been a student,” said Dubois, a cybersecurity and networks major. “The CPTC group did a fantastic job setting up a realistic environment for competitors to examine and report on.”

As part of the competition, students take part in real-world penetration testing engagement, much like that conducted by security departments and companies. Students gain hands-on experience and the ability to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom.

"The CIT, one of twenty-two National Security Agency-designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and the only one in Connecticut, was proud to host the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition's New England Regional,” said Liberty Page, M.S., coordinator of the University’s undergraduate program in cybersecurity and networks. “This prestigious global competition is focused on the work-ready skills of identifying vulnerabilities in an organization's infrastructure, writing a professional report, and presenting to company upper-level management.”

Liberty Page, M.S.
Liberty Page, M.S.
‘We will do even better next year’

The winner of the regional competition, UMass Amherst, advanced to the global finals. The University captured second place in the event last year, and that team was also a wild card qualifier for the global competition last January, where they were recognized for having the best presentation.

Dubois is excited for all the team is sure to achieve at next year’s competition, as well as during the Spring semester. Their next major event will be the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The qualifier round is scheduled for later this month.

“With almost all of our team composed of sophomores competing for the first time, I expect that with some additional preparation we will do even better next year,” he said. “We will continue to prepare for our next large competition.”