Students and mentors talk about HackIN and its impact [WATCH]

At Launch Indy, in downtown Indianapolis, a place known for cultivating entrepreneurs and innovative thinking, nearly 100 students from colleges, universities and organizations across Indiana gathered to participate in the inaugural HackIN reverse engineering/cybersecurity hackathon conducted by the Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3) and Booz Allen Hamilton.

The students, representing such institutions as Indiana University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Taylor University, Ivy Tech and Eleven Fifty Academy, spent three-days immersed in a challenge that tested not only their software skills but their hardware skills as well.

“We wanted to create a challenge that incorporated both a hardware and software component where it’s a unique hardware system students have to interact with, to help identify students who already have the cybersecurity skill set that sort of transitions them into that domain of hardware and also to inspire students who don’t have that skill set to explore those types of systems on their own,” said Austin Roach, scientist, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

Throughout the competition, mentors who are experts in their field and representing such organizations as NSWC Crane, Booz Allen and IN3, provided guidance to the students but ultimately the students were responsible for figuring out the problems themselves.

HackIN was not only a competition but also served as a chance for students to provide their resumes to the organizations attending. Indiana has a number of top cybersecurity assets in the state and attracting and retaining students from Indiana’s top schools is a priority for them.

“Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division is always looking for individuals who are trying to think outside the box and who have unique skill sets,” said Charles Colglazier, branch manager of cybersecurity, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. “There are no degrees in reverse engineering but there are lots of individuals who are out there and participating in these types of events that not necessarily a resume or transcript is going to capture.”

HackIN provided the students with a real-world experience and emphasized the importance and growing need for talent with certain skill sets to work in the field of cybersecurity.

“The future is certainly the intersection of cyber and the physical world, so we see that everything is connected whether it’s buildings, medical devices and cybersecurity is a real issue with connected devices in the future,” said Brad Medairy, executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton. “It really requires not only experience in terms of cyber and software but also hardware and the intersection of cyber engineering really brings that together.”

The following teams took home top honors:

  • 1st Place – $4,000
    • Indiana University
      • Vafa Andalibi
      • DongInn Kim
      • Hongbo Chen
      • Yifan Zhang

 

  • 2nd Place – $2,000
    • Indiana University
      • Dmitrii Galantsev
      • Adam Martin
      • Jadon Berghorst

 

 

  • 3rd Place – $1,000
    • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
      • Bailey Morgan
      • Alyssa Pinkston
      • Emily Boatman
      • Kati Jurgens