North High School has two finalists teams --the only ones from New York-- in the international 2013 CSAW NYU-Poly HSF Competition (Cyber Security Awareness Week High School Forensics). The teams are August Chen, Jessy Lin, and Ashley Radparvar; and Maxwell (Max) Ainatchi and Daniel Hanover. North’s teams are among the 14 finalist teams from a field of over 200 entrants. The final round will be held at NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus. NYU-Poly covers all costs for participating teams.
The CSAW HSF Competition tests computer forensic knowledge and students’ abilities to analyze and inspect various pieces of electronic evidence related to a hypothetical crime.
Hanover explained the challenge facing each team: At the beginning of this competition, we were provided with a murder case, as well as some background information leading up to the case. The victim’s name was Joel Hunkes and he was the head of a multinational cyber crime organization, known as the CyberNutz.
An SD card was found at the crime scene with Mr. Hunkes’ body. Competition participants were provided with the contents of the SD card. Although an ordinary computer user might have thought the SD card’s content innocuous, participants were expected to use various cyber forensics techniques, from steganography (whereby messages can be hidden in sound and picture files) and file carving (a method for recovering files that have been deleted or are in a damaged computer) to deleted-file recovery, and analyzing the card’s contents at a more advanced level (resources were also provided at http://cyfor.isis.poly.edu/). We reported our findings to CSAW as we discovered them. As we found new and interesting ways to look at the digital content, we discovered hidden pieces of information, and the apparently simple murder branched out into a much more complex story involving hacking, financial embezzlement, and betrayal.
No stranger to winning cyber challenges, Daniel Hanover took first place in New York, in the 2011 U.S. Cyber Challenge.
Alan Schorn, North’s cyber competition faculty advisor, thanked Marc Epstein, district technology director, Joseph Cangialosi, district coordinator of technical support services, and Mr. Cangialosi’s technology staff for the system they set up which gave the students special abilities to practice their cyber forensics work.
CSAW at NYU-Poly is the largest student-centered cyber security competition in the U.S. Hosted by NYU-Poly’s Information Systems and Security Laboratory, the competition’s hands-on challenges are created and managed by NYU-Poly graduate and undergraduate students in consultation with NYU-Poly faculty and industry leaders.