NYUAD Students Win at World’s Most Comprehensive Student Cybersecurity Games

Best young hackers and protectors converged at NYU Tandon School of Engineering to test their skills in new and dangerous realms of cyberspace

Press Release

Two NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) students have won first place in the Hack3D competition as part of CSAW, the world’s most comprehensive student-led cybersecurity competition.

Organized by the NYU Center for Cybersecurity, the competition pushed the boundaries of the world’s most accomplished security students with contests that reflect the world’s rapidly changing threat landscape. The cyber challenge was held in six international CSAW hubs and employed contests to advance research in the areas of cybersecurity that are yet to be explored.

NYUAD Computer Science undergraduate students, Cole Beasley and Pedro Velasquez, won the Hack3D event that focused on anti-counterfeiting methods in 3D printing. Competitors were first tested in reverse engineering a 3D CAD model, and during the final round, teams were given a plastic female connector object to an unknown piece and an STL file which contained information for a 3D printer.

Cole Beasley and Pedro Velasquez

Beasley and Velasquez were able to identify critical geometrical points and create a piece which would match and connect with the initial object. Beasley commented, “This competition was a great experience. Through the extent of the challenge, we had to think and approach the presented problem with differing skill sets to complete one single task. Between the actual challenge presented to us as well as the interactions with the sponsors through the business fair and technical talks, Hack3d and CSAW as a whole was a valuable learning tool for anyone interested in the cybersecurity field."

Velasquez added, “CSAW 19 was full of rewarding moments after every problem solved. We still have a lot to learn about cybersecurity and we are very excited for next year.”

To earn spots in the coveted final rounds, this year’s contestants bested 1,225 teams from 90 countries. At the finals for the United States and Canada, students won cash prizes, and NYU Tandon offered more than $1 million in scholarships to high school competitors. Additional prizes were awarded to contestants at the other academic hubs.

NYU Tandon Professor, leader of CSAW 2019 and NYU Center for Cybersecurity Ramesh Karri, said, “The finalists’ creativity, dedication, and mettle put them on a trajectory to become leaders in a field whose importance to our institutions and economies cannot be overstated. Our congratulations go out to them and to the faculty and mentors who encouraged and helped educate them.”

CSAW started as a contest for NYU Tandon School of Engineering students nearly two decades ago. It has since grown to include simultaneous final competitions at schools in France, India, UAE, Mexico and beyond.

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.

About New York University Tandon School of Engineering 

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu.