TTU Computer Science Student Wins Capture the Flag Cyber Security Competition


Each year, the National Cyber League hosts a federally sponsored cyber security competition called “Capture the Flag.” This year the tournament-style competition engaged more than 900 participants across the nation and they were tested for their technical security skills in web exploitation, Windows and Linux passwords, cryptography, network data analysis, database exploitation and privilege escalation.


Vitaly Ford, a Ph.D. student in Tennessee Tech University’s Computer Science’s Information Assurance and Security program, was a competitor in this year’s Capture the Flag. Individuals were graded by initial skill level and then placed in gold, silver and bronze brackets; Ford was placed in the middle silver bracket after a pre-season qualifying game. During the individual competition, he won first place in this bracket and was placed sixth among all competitors in all groups.


“It really felt good to score points!” said Ford. “This experience has really helped me to learn so much outside of classroom settings and to network with peers from whom I have learned from and shared knowledge with.”


In team competition, not only did Ford’s team (consisting of members from different universities) place second in the Eastern Silver Bracket, but Ford was personally responsible for acquiring 70 percent of the team’s total score.


“It is so critical for students to participate in such competitions to gain real world active learning opportunities and improve critical thinking,” said Ambareen Siraj, associate professor in Computer Science. “Ford’s performance is very encouraging for our students and for our security program here at Tech.”

This is the first time a TTU student has participated in any national cyber security competition, and an impressive debut performance. TTU’s security program is also home to the CyberEagles club, which is devoted to enhancing computer and information security consciousness, as well as giving students a sound footing in the use, development, design and operation of computing technology.






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