Terra ‘codebreakers’ topple big schools in national competition

Feb 10, 2021 | Schools | 0 comments


Terra State Community College cybersecurity students completed the annual National Security Agency (NSA) Codebreaker Challenge recently, finishing in 14th in the 452-school competition against many of the country’s major four-year universities. Terra’s 33 students participated in two phases of challenges that started back in October.

Students applied their computer skills about cracking passwords, social engineering, complex mathematic computations and reverse engineering software to solve problems in a fictional story.

“The challenge presented many great opportunities for students to develop their creative cybersecurity skills that they have gained throughout their time at Terra State,” said Mike Daigneault, assistant professor in Terra State’s computer information systems program, “All of the students showed their creativity in creating solutions for each task and went above and beyond.

“There is a great sense of pride with these students and I know each of them will go far in life.”

The Codebreak Challenge winners were the University of Northern Georgia, Georgia Tech and Oregon State University. Terra State’s team toppled four-year universities such as Purdue, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Michigan and even The Ohio State University.

Austin Douglas, computer information systems, systems and networking support student, was eager to work hands-on with his classmates.

“The NSA challenge was truly something wild,” said Douglas, “There were questions based on basic IT, math and complex puzzles. I will never forget the adrenaline rush we all got when we were sitting in a room together. The room is deathly quiet. Everybody is trying to work out the problem until somebody figures out the answer and the class just erupts into excitement. I think that is the one memory I’ll always look back on when I think of Terra State.”

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