MELBOURNE, FLA. — The L3Harris Institute for Assured Information FITSEC competitive cybersecurity team won the Saint Leo Capture the Flag cybersecurity tournament on Feb. 11. The victory brought a $3,500 cash prize.
The L3HIAI FITSEC team of Stephen Brustowicz, Dylan Jesse, Alex Schmith, Curtice Gough and Blake Janes bested teams from the host university as well as University of Tampa, Florida Polytechnic University and St. Petersburg College.
Florida Tech Provost and Executive Director of the L3Harris Institute for Assured Information Marco Carvalho has supported the team and sponsored the students’ travel to this tournament and has supported FITSEC since its 2019 launch.
“Cybersecurity is an extremely consequential and important field in today’s connected world, and the L3Harris Institute for Assured Information at Florida Tech is proud to help develop the next generation of cyberwarriors through our support of such an outstanding team as FITSEC,” Carvalho said. “This is our mission and our passion at L3HIAI.”
In capture-the-flag competitions, participants manipulate a computer system by hacking the system to complete a designated challenge and retrieve, or “capture,” a group of text known as the “flag” for that specific challenge.
This victory is one of several recent accomplishments for FITSEC.
The team traveled to Washington, D.C. in January for the SchmooCon security conference. FITSEC took the silver medal in the JumpWire capture-the-flag event against industry professionals. And one of the newest team members, Ph.D. candidate and wireless security expert Bobby Acha, competed in the Wireless capture-the-flag tournament, also taking a silver medal against industry professionals.
And last year concluded with more podium finishes, as Jesse and Brustowicz joined team members Louis Orcinolo and Isaiah Thomas in winning 2nd at the prestigious U.S. Cyber Challenge National Championship. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security and supported by the White House Chief Information Officer, the event pitted the nation’s best cybersecurity students against each other.
There is real-world impact from this virtual virtuosity, FITSEC primary faculty advisor TJ O’Connor noted. Team members Brustowicz, Jesse, Schmith, Gough and Janes all have secured summer internships at top spots including NASA, Research Innovations Inc., Cromulence LLC and Red Lattice.
“Their success has trampolined them into these important professional opportunities,” said O’Connor, who directs Florida Tech’s cybersecurity concentration.