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Bay Arenac ISD students win Capture the Flag

May 2, 2022

Northwood and Dow partner to provide experiential learning experience

Students from Bay Arenac Intermediate School District were the victors in the first Capture the Flag event hosted Friday, April 29, by Northwood University.

Northwood invited high schoolers to participate in the competition, along with Management Information Systems, Computer Science and Cyber Security students from the Midland university. 

“The event surrounds the topic of cybersecurity — operational and physical,” said David Sanford, Management Information Systems department chair for Northwood University. “There were ciphers that needed to be cracked. Students had to search for answers to questions and perform hacking and cracking techniques to decrypt data to gain access to answers. They also had to find passwords to get into certain databases.”

Northwood secured parental permission for each of the high schoolers who participated, given the fact that the exercise involved hacking/cracking tools to find passwords and other information.

 Northwood teamed up with Dow to host Friday’s Capture the Flag event.

“We wanted to provide our students an experiential learning experience,” Sanford said. “The cybersecurity department was talking about doing a Capture the Flag event, and we mentioned it in our advisory meeting. Our advisory council features two members from Dow who work in cyber security and computer science. They responded and volunteered to do this for us.”

The goal was to have Northwood students walk away with an invigorated view of the field that they have chosen.

“They should have a better understanding of how hackers gain access to systems through reverse engineering passwords and encryption and decryption techniques,” added Sanford. “And so should our other participants – including the 14 students who joined us from Bay Arenac ISD.”

Teams competed for first, second and third place. Winners received prizes that included Beats Solo3 wireless headphones; Razer Huntsman Mini 60% Gaming Keyboard; and Razer Kraken Ultimate RGB USB Gaming Headset: THX 7.1. All students received some Northwood swag for participating.

For more information about Northwood’s Information Systems and Cybersecurity programs, visit our Information Systems and Cybersecurity major page.

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