Champlain Digital Forensics Team Scores Top Place in International Capture-the-Flag Competition

Computer Networking & Cybersecurity senior, Kevin Rode, and Computer & Digital Forensics Program Director Yogesh Khatri beat out more than 300 other teams and 1,100 players worldwide to capture the top spot in a digital forensics competition.

Capture the flag competitions are exciting and popular ways for cybersecurity and digital forensics experts to challenge themselves and keep up to date with the latest technology. In a recent competition hosted by Cellebrite—a digital intelligence company that works with law enforcement, government agencies, and businesses—players were challenged to retrieve evidence and artifacts from Android and iOS mobile phones. Mobile devices—now an essential part of our lives—have become a huge focus for digital forensics experts around the world.

Competitions like these really help new and experienced investigators alike to hone their skills, as the technologies we work with change and evolve every day.

Yogesh Khatri, Director of Computer & Digital Forensics at Champlain College

Most of the participants in the Cellebrite competition were forensics professionals with years of experience in the field, but students like Rode also competed.

“Competing in CTFs (Capture the Flags) is one of my favorite things to do—and this event was no different,” says Rode. “It is incredibly fun to be faced with a wide variety of challenges and see them get solved one by one.”

To prepare for the event, Khatri and Rode split up the pre-analysis work, and during the competition, they discussed the challenges and coordinated their efforts over voice chat.

While Cellebrite’s Capture the Flag ran for four full days, Khatri and Rode finished their work in under seven hours on the first day and held the top spot on the leaderboard until the end of the event.

In the graph above, you can see how Rode and Khatri sprinted out of the gate and climbed quickly to capture the top spot (they’re the orange line that climbs the fastest).
On Twitter, Cellebrite announced Rode and Khatri as the winners of the competition.

“My favorite thing about the cybersecurity and digital forensic fields is that they are constantly changing,” says Rode. “There is always something new to learn and a new puzzle to solve.”

Champlain Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity students work alongside leading industry professionals and build invaluable skills starting in their first year. They’re given numerous opportunities to connect directly with industry leaders, mentors, clients, and potential employers, building meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime. Students can also choose to work in The Leahy Center, a world-class digital forensics and cybersecurity laboratory located right on campus, which services real clients in the government, non-profit, and business sectors.

Champlain students at work last year in The Leahy Center. Due to COVID-19, all Leahy Center students are now working remotely.

Interested in studying Computer & Digital Forensics, sign up to receive more information here. Want to know more about Computer Networking & Cybersecurity, check out this page. To see all of the majors in our Division of Information Technology & Sciences, click here.


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