Sunday April 14th, 2024 9:16AM

UNG finishes second in NSA Codebreaker Challenge

By Giselle Mesquital Intern

The University of North Georgia finished in the top five in the NSA Codebreaker Challenge alongside UCSC, SANS Technology, and behind first-place winner Georgia Tech. 

The National Security Agency Codebreaker Challenge ran from Sept. 28, 2023, through Jan. 1, 2024. Students had to complete nine tasks all based on a real-life event. In the simulation, contestants were faced with a spy balloon of unknown origin and had to work together to break into the network and shut it down. 

"Our students consistently show themselves to be among the best in the country in cybersecurity competitions like the NSA Codebreaker Challenge," said Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and coordinator of student cybersecurity programs.

Ada Arcinas, a sophomore from Dahlonega pursuing a degree in cybersecurity, said UNG’s faculty helped her excel in the competition. 

"The NSA Codebreaker Challenge was incredibly difficult, but it forced me to really take my time to think and play around with the possibilities," Arcinas said. "It's satisfying finding the right answers even though the process of figuring out each challenge was brutal."  

Scott Snow, a senior from Sugar Valley pursuing a degree in cybersecurity and a minor in computer science, was one of UNG’s top performers in the challenge. 

"It gives me a major sense of confidence knowing I have been prepared by great individuals," Snow said.

UNG has made it in the top three in recent years, having taken first place back in 2019 and 2020.

"We take it very seriously," Snow said. "We had a legacy to uphold."  

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  • Associated Tags: ung, University of North Georgia, cyber security, competition
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