NYU Abu Dhabi Challenges High School Students to Become Cyber Security Investigators

CSAW is the largest student-run cyber security event in the world, featuring international competitions, workshops, and industry events.

Press Release

High school students from across the United Arab Emirates are being invited to learn about a range of cyber security tools by participating in NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and the National Electronic Security Authority's (NESA) cyber forensics murder mystery challenge. The competition, which is part of the Cyber Security Awareness Week hosted by NYU-Poly — NYU's school of engineering, applied sciences, and technology — has been an annual challenge for the past 10 years for students across the US. NYUAD's Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy — Abu Dhabi (CRISSP-AD) and NESA are now encouraging participation from UAE-based youth. Two qualifying finalist teams from the UAE will be sponsored to compete against other US-based finalists in the championship event in New York on November 15, 2013.

Starting September 18, each registered team will be presented with a disk image and supporting evidence collected in the investigation of a fictitious murder case. Teams, comprising one to three student members and a teacher mentor, will have one month to use a range of cyber forensics tools to unveil the evidence contained both in the file and online. By October 18, teams will submit a final PDF document including a description of all evidence discovered, the tools and process used to find each piece of evidence, a timeline of events, and any final conclusions on the case. Following the review of all submissions, the two teams that have made the most significant progress in the case and who have demonstrated the strongest fluency in the forensics tools used, will be sponsored by NYUAD to travel to New York, where they will use the evidence uncovered to compete in the final stage of the challenge.

"There is a tremendous need to develop and train cyber security experts here in the UAE who can help safeguard the critical applications and the everyday transfer and storage of data that is essential to our society," said Nasir Memon, professor of Computer Science and Engineering and principal investigator at CRISSP-AD. "This challenge has been designed to introduce high school students to the basic concepts and tools involved in cyber security, while stimulating an interest in further study and exploration in this field."

"The Cyber Security Awareness Week is an event that NESA is proud to be a part of. It is extremely exciting that UAE students for the first time this year are taking part in the cyber forensics murder mystery challenge," said Saif Al Noaimi, executive director of Strategic Affairs at NESA. "It is of national importance that we educate and create cyberspace awareness amongst our youth through events such as this. We are looking for the next generation of cyberspace warriors that can contribute to our nation's cyber security, and this event provides us with an ideal opportunity to scout for the best talent."

In order to participate, students will need to have a base-level understanding of cyber security tools, such as traditional log and file analysis, rootkit detection and analysis, botnet detection and analysis, live system forensics, steganography, and file carving. To help students learn about the various tools required, NYU-Poly has set up a free online environment with training modules where students can learn, ask questions, collaborate, and practice digital forensics.

CRISSP-AD, which has brought this event to the UAE, was established to facilitate cyber security research, education, and practice in the country. NESA is responsible for proposing and implementing the UAE's national policy on electronic security and works to confront any risks, threats, or attacks.

Teams can get more information on the challenge and registration at http://nyuad.nyu.edu/cyfor.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.