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Information Security and Intelligence Students Among Top Finishers in Hack The Port 22 Cybersecurity Competition

PhotoA team of Ferris State University Information Security and Intelligence students recently placed fourth among 25 teams in the Hack The Port 22 cybersecurity competition, hosted by the Maryland Innovation and and Security Institute. ISI Master of Science student Louis Nguyen, of Vietnam, is kneeling. The back row, left to right is Jacob Harrand, of Traverse City; Gavin Orcutt, of Fremont; Assistant Professor Gerald Emerick, Nick Verhelle, of Clarkston; and Harrison Norkus, of Fremont.

The preparation paid off for a five-student Ferris State University Information Security and Intelligence team that took fourth place among 25 teams in its category at Hack The Port 22. The Maryland Innovation and Security Institute organized the cybersecurity skills competition in late March.

The Ferris team took on the ‘red’ or attacking scenario for maritime cybersecurity industrial control systems from the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center in Florida. ISI Associate Professor Jerry Emerick said being within view of a significant seaport off the Atlantic Ocean drove home the global significance of that infrastructure.

“It was a great experience for our students. They put in a great deal of effort to get ready for this and competed well, putting up top results in a field that included other well-respected universities and service academies,” Emerick said. “There was also a conference as part of Hack The Port, with keynote speakers who are leaders in government and industry information security. Our students learned from these experts that their field of study, as it applies to maritime cybersecurity, is of global importance.”

Louis Nguyen, of Vietnam, is a Ferris Master of Science student in ISI. He competed with the university’s team in Hack The Port 22. Nguyen and his teammates thanked Emerick for organizing their opportunity to compete.

“Being in a position to target a variety of industrial controls and systems has broadened my horizon regarding the approaches and tools I can use to carry out the pentest (penetration testing) methodology,” Nguyen said. “It was a great learning experience to collaborate with my teammates to demonstrate potential cyber vulnerabilities in the maritime industry.”

Undergraduate ISI students Jacob Harrand, of Traverse City; Harrison Norkus, of Caledonia; Gavin Orcutt, of Fremont; and Nick Verhelle, of Clarkston, joined Nguyen as Ferris’ competitors in Hack The Port 22, held Monday, March 21 through Friday, March 25.