Marist Students Earn Top Awards at Prestigious Technology Competitions

Marist students are standouts at both IBM 2017 TechConnect and the NYIT Annual Cybersecurity Conference

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - Two innovative cybersecurity projects developed by students in Marist’s School of Computer Science & Mathematics recently won awards at IBM 2017 TechConnect and the 2017 New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Annual Cybersecurity conference.  Both projects were sponsored in part by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and carried out in collaboration with Marist research partners IBM Corporation and cyber-defense company Blackridge Technology.   

IBM TechConnect is an annual event at the company’s Poughkeepsie campus that provides a forum for Marist students and IBM employees from different business units to share their technical work with peers.  Posters are judged by a panel of senior technical leaders and executives.  The NYIT Annual Cybersecurity Conference, held in New York City and sponsored by NYIT's School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, brings together cybersecurity experts from academia, business, and government to address topics ranging from securing health and financial data to preventing mobile identity theft.  The best projects are recognized with prizes.  Said Dean of the School of Computer Science & Mathematics Roger Norton, “To win top awards in the field of computer science while competing against esteemed professionals and peers is an impressive acknowledgement of the innovative work done by students at Marist.”  

The first student project, entitled “Autonomic Security: Real Time Response to Cybersecurity Threats,” was developed by Dayna Eidle ’20, Mark Miller ’19, Wendy Ni ’19, Brittany Ross ’18, and Brandon Traditi ’19.  Working with faculty mentors, the students set up an automated attack signature detection, classification, and response system to cut detection and response times from 90 seconds down to 20-30 seconds compared to conventional methods.  Their work won in the Early Tenure, Best of Solutions category at IBM 2017 TechConnect, where it was presented by Wendy Ni and Jack Heiden ’18.  The project was simultaneously presented by Mark Miller and Brandon Traditi at the NYIT Conference.  

TechConnect students

The second student project to be recognized was “An API Honeypot for DDoS and XSS Analysis,” developed by Thomas Famularo ’19, Jack Heiden ’18, G.O. Leaden ’19, Tommy Magnusson ’20, and Marcus Zimmermann ’19.  In it, the student team built a honeypot disguised as a Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Programming Interface (API) to combat the growing number of cyber-attacks against cloud networks.  Presented by G.O. Leaden and Marcus Zimmerman at the NYIT Conference, the project took first place for undergraduate posters and was simultaneously presented at the IBM 2017 TechConnect event by Thomas Famularo and Tommy Magnusson.  

A number of Marist faculty and staff members worked closely with the students and guided their work, including Assistant Professor of Information Technology & Systems Casimer DeCusatis, who serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) on the NSF grant; Distinguished Professional Lecturer of Computer Science, Information Technology & Systems Robert Cannistra; Associate Professor of Computer Science Alan Labouseur; Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Information Technology & Systems Matthew Johnson; Vice President for Information Technology/CIO William Thirsk; and Dean Norton.  Also playing a key role in the research was IBM’s Greg Lacey, who manages student projects for the Marist/IBM Joint Study program, and Eli Perlman of Blackridge Technology.

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