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Alexander Larkin places 101 out of 3,449 in the National Cyber League (NCL)

My name is Alexander Larkin and I am currently finishing up my first semester, at Michigan Tech, as a Computer Science major.  I transferred from Waukesha County Technical College, WI where I spent a few years studying networking, programming, and cybersecurity.  During my first semester, at Michigan Tech, I competed in the NCL(National Cyber League) and placed 101st out of 3,449 competitors.  NCL is a cybersecurity competition that assesses an individual’s skill in cryptography, network traffic analysis, task automation, exploitation of vulnerable systems, and much more.  Participating in NCL is an incredible way to learn about cybersecurity concepts and is an absolutely great experience.  I began competing in NCL when I was sixteen years old.  I have continued to compete in most NCL games since that time and I always look forward to the next competition.  The competition gives a competitor a set of tasks to complete, via a clean and intuitive web interface.  For every task completed, points are given based on the difficulty of the task.  Sometimes the competition demands an individual learn about some strange technologies such as Voice-Over-IP.  During this last competition, I found myself researching how Voice-Over-IP works, so I could track phone calls, stored in a packet capture.  Every time I compete in NCL I find myself learning about cool technologies.  Over the years, I have learned how to become a master at the art of “Google-Fu”.  Over the years of competing, I have learned just how important it is to do research on unknown topics and technologies.  NCL also taught me that it is OK to not know something and to not admit defeat, but to do some research, learn the topic, and apply what I learn on the fly.  Learning how to “learn on the fly” has helped me immensely in all aspects of my life and is enormously valuable in Computer Science.  I would consider it to be a pseudo-required skill to possess in the dynamic world of computing.  I am happy to be competing in National Cyber League here at Michigan Tech and I am looking forward to competing in the Spring of 2018.  Additional information about National Cyber League can be found at www.nationalcyberleague.org.  I would like to personally thank Professor Min Song and Professor Bo Chen for providing faculty leadership during this last competition and I look forward to working with them again in the Spring.

Congratulations Alexander!