Category: Cai

GenCyber Teacher Camp Is July 19-23, 2021


An NSA/NSF GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp for K-12 teachers will take place at Michigan Tech the week of July 19 – 23, 2021. This residential camp is offered at no cost to all participants.

Topics include fundamental security knowledge, cyber hygiene, and other topics such as email phishing, password management, and cyber ethics. Participants will also learn how to develop lesson plans to teach cybersecurity in K-12.

Room and board are included. Each teacher participant will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities. Commuting is also possible. Camp activities will count for 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH).

Find complete details and apply here.  The application deadline is May 1, 2021.

Funding of the camp is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant award led by Professor Yu Cai and Tim Van Wagner, both from the College of Computing Department of Applied Computing.

Watch a video from the 2019 GenCyber Teacher Camp below.

Gencyber Teacher Camp @ Michigan Tech 2019


Assistants, Helpers Needed for Cybersecurity Teacher Camp, July 19-23


Dr. Yu Cai, Applied Computing, is seeking motivated students to help with this summer’s GenCyber Teacher Camp, which takes place on campus July 19-23, 2021.

  1. Twenty K-12 teachers attending the camp.
  2. Students will work as teaching assistants and camp helpers. They will set up the lab, help during hands-on activities and games, manage the website, and help the assessment. Students will be paid for 3 weeks of work during July.
  3. Contact Dr. Yu Cai (cai@mtu.edu) for details and to apply.

GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp Is July 19-23

by Yu Cai, College of Computing

A GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp for K-12 teachers will be held at Michigan Tech during the week of July 19 – 23. Participants will learn cyber hygiene and fundamental security knowledge including email phishing, password management, and cyber ethics. Participants will also learn how to develop lesson plans to teach cybersecurity in K-12.

This is a residential camp (commuting optional), and is offered at NO COST to all participants. Room and board is included. Each teacher participant will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities. Camp activities will count for 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH).

Click here for more information and to apply. The application deadline is May.

Funding for the camp is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an award led by Yu Cai and Tim Van Wagner from the College of Computing.


Michigan Tech Announces NSF CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service Program

Michigan Technological University is one of six universities to join the National Science Foundation CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, a nationwide program to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals and security managers.

The five-year, $3.3 million NSF grant provides up to three years of full scholarship support for 20 undergraduate and graduate students.

In return, following graduation, recipients must work in a cybersecurity-related job for federal, state, local or tribal government for a period equal to the length of the scholarship, among other requirements.

“The U.S. is facing a significant shortage of well-trained and well-prepared cybersecurity professionals,” said Yu Cai, professor of applied computing at Michigan Tech and the principal investigator of the grant. “Michigan Tech has developed a national and international reputation in cybersecurity education, research and outreach activities. We are thrilled to be part of the solution to the nation’s cybersecurity workforce challenge.”

Applications for Michigan Tech’s 2021-2022 cohort are now being accepted. Application guidelines and requirements can be found on the SFS website. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2021. Student informational sessions will be announced shortly. 

The degree programs included in the CyberCorps scholarship opportunity are listed below.

  1. BS in Cybersecurity (CyS)
  2. BS in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA)
  3. BS in Computer Science (CS)
  4. BS in Software Engineering (SE)
  5. BS in Computer Engineering (CpE)
  6. BS in Electrical Engineering (EE)
  7. BS in Management Information Systems (MIS)
  8. MS in Cybersecurity

The SFS program at Michigan Tech involves multiple programs and departments, including the College of Computing and its Department of Applied Computing and Department of Computer Science, the College of Engineering’s Department of  Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the College of Business’s Management Information Systems B.S. program. 

The SFS program also partners with the Pavlis Honors College to engage SFS scholars in a blend of faculty mentoring, peer mentoring and customized pathways.

Michigan Tech joins 78 current CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service universities across the country. In its announcement, NSF noted that Michigan Tech has a long history of K-12 outreach, which it expects to leverage as part of its project.

The project PI is Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing. Co-PIs and other important personnel include Professor Jean MayoProfessor Todd O. ArneyProfessor Bo ChenProfessor Chee-Wooi TenProfessor Kedmon N. Hungwe, and Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss.


Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.


Computing Majors on Team that Takes 3rd in Lockheed CTF Competition

Two College of Computing RedTeam students are part of a five-member team that finished 3rd in last weekend’s invitation-only Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratories (ATL) Capture the Flag cybersecurity competition.

The multi-day virtual event involved 200 students on 40 teams. It opened for answer submission Friday, January 8, at 8:00 p.m., and closed Sunday, January 10, at 8 p.m.

The 3rd Place team, GoBlue!, trailed the 2nd Place team by only 14 points. RedTeam members are Michigan Tech undergraduates Dakoda Patterson, Computer Science, and Trevor Hornsby, Cybersecurity, and three University of Michigan students from the RedTeam’s partnership with that institution.

Michigan Tech RedTeam faculty advisors are Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science.

“We were lucky to be one of the 40 teams invited,” said Cai. “This was no small task, as the CTF included a large number of points in Reversing and “pwning” challenges, which proved to be fairly difficult. Other challenges were Cryptography, Stegonography, Web Exploitation, and miscellaneous challenges.”

CTF competitions place hidden “flags” in various computer systems, programs, images, messages, network traffic and other computing environments. Each individual or team is tasked with finding these flags. Participants win prizes while learning how to defend against cybersecurity attacks in a competitive and safe arena.

Top Three Teams

PlacementTeam NameInstitutionTotal Points
1st PlacenullbytesGeorge Mason University3697
2nd PlaceChrisSucksGeorge Mason University3330
3rd PlaceGoBlue!Michigan Tech and University of Michigan 3316

ICC Announces Computing Education Center

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) has announced the addition of the Computing Education Center, which promotes research and learning related to computing education. Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, is director of the new center.

“A special thanks to Yu Cai for stepping forward to lead this effort,” said Tim Havens, director of the ICC and associate dean for research, College of Computing.

“This has been discussed for a few years, and I’m excited about the group of people that has come together in this center,” Havens added. “I look forward to hearing about their successes.”


The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems provides faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that is a reflection of contemporary technological innovation.

The research center is funded in large part through returns on grant overhead and expenditures (F&A). Commonly called IRAD funds, these quarterly distributions are allocated among the six ICC centers according to their respective research expenditures that quarter.


Yu Cai is PI of 2-year NSA GenCyber Project

Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a two-year project that has received a $99,942 grant from the National Security Agency (GenCyber). The project is titled, “GenCyber Teacher Camp at Michigan Tech. “

Lecturer Tim Van Wagner (AC) and Assistant Professor Bo Chen (CS, DataS) are Co-PIs. Cai will serve as the camp director, Tim Van Wagner as lead instructor.

This GenCyber project aims to host a week-long, residential summer camp for twenty K-12 STEM teachers in 2021 at Michigan Tech. Target educators are primarily from Michigan and surrounding states.

The objectives of the camp are to teach cybersecurity knowledge and safe online behavior, develop innovative teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content, and provide professional development opportunities so participants will return to their home schools with contagious enthusiasm about teaching cybersecurity.

The GenCyber camp will be offered at no cost to camp participants. Room and board will be provided. Teacher participants will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities.

Read about the 2019 Michigan Tech GenCyber camps for teachers and students here.


More Achievements for MTU RedTeam

The MTU RedTeam ranked 13th out of 162 teams in a recent 24-hour Cybar OSINT Capture The Flag (CTF) cybersecurity competition. The team finished tied for 5th place, having completed all the challenges presented by the competition.

Students on the team were Trevor Hornsby (Software Engineering), Shane Hoppe (Computer Science), Matthew Chau (Cybersecurity), Steven Whitaker (Electrical Engineering), and Sankalp Shastry (Electrical Engineering).

Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science, are advisor and co-advisor of RedTeam, respectively. Both are members of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity.

RedTeam promotes a security-driven mindset among Michigan Tech students and provides a community and resource for those wishing to learn more about information security. The RedTeam competes in National Cyber League (NCL) competitions, a great way for students to gain competency in cybersecurity tools and boost their resumes.

RedTeam is on Slack at mturedteam.slack.com. Interested students can sign up with a Michigan Tech email. View past RedTeam presentations here.

This OSINT CTF is non-theoretical and contestants work in teams of up to four members to crowdsource the collection of OSINT to assist law enforcement in generating new leads on missing persons.

The contest runs as a Capture the Flag (CTF) format where contestants must collect various “flags” which equate to points. Since the each flag submitted is treated as potential “net new intelligence”, Trace Labs has a team of volunteers known as “Judges” who validate each submission and award points if the flag meets the category requirements. At the end of each CTF, the team with the most points on the scoreboard wins.


ROTC Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, has awarded Michigan Tech faculty researchers a $249,000 grant that supports the creation of an ROTC undergraduate science and engineering research program at Michigan Tech. The primary goal of the program is to supply prepared cadets to all military branches to serve as officers in Cyber commands.

The principal investigator (PI) of the project is Andrew Barnard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Co-PIs are Timothy Havens, College of Computing; Laura Brown , Computer Science, and Yu Cai, Applied Computing. The title of the project is, “Defending the Nation’s Digital Frontier: Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers.”

The curriculum will be developed over the summer, and instruction associated with the award will begin in the fall 2020 semester. Cadets interested in joining the new program are urged to contact Andrew Barnard.

Initially, the program will focus on topics in cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science, and remote sensing systems, all critical to the The Naval Science and Technology (S&T) Strategic Plan and the Navy’s Force of the Future, and with equal relevance in all branches of the armed forces.

The plan of work focuses on on engaging ROTC students in current and on-going Cyber research, and supports recruitment of young ROTC engineers and scientists to serve in Navy cybersecurity and cyber-systems commands. The program will compel cadets to seek positions within Cyber commands upon graduation, or pursue graduate research in Cyber fields.

“Our approach develops paid, research-based instruction for ROTC students through the existing Michigan Tech Strategic Education Naval Systems Experiences (SENSE) program,” said principal investigator Andrew Barnard, “ROTC students will receive one academic year of instruction in four Cyber domains: cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI), data science, and remote sensing systems.”

Barnard says the cohort-based program will enrich student learning through deep shared research experiences. He says the program will be designed with flexibility and agility in mind to quickly adapt to new and emerging Navy science and technology needs in the Cyber domain. 

Placement of officers in Cyber commands is of critical long-term importance to the Navy (and other DoD branches) in maintaining technological superiority, says the award abstract, noting that technological superiority directly influences the capability and safety of the warfighter.

Also closely involved in the project are Michigan Tech Air Force and Army ROTC officers Lt. Col. John O’Kane and LTC Christian Thompson, respectively.

“Unfortunately, many ROTC cadets are either unaware of Cyber related careers, or are unprepared for problems facing Cyber officers,” said Lt. Col. O’Kane. “This proposal aims to provide a steady flow of highly motivated and trained uniformed officers to the armed-services, capable of supporting the warfighter on day-one.”

Andrew Barnard is director of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and faculty advisor to the SENSE Enterprise.

Tim Havens is director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, associate dean for research, College of Computing, and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems.

Laura Brown is an associate professor, Computer Science, director of the Data Science graduate program, and a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Yu Cai is a professor of Applied Computing, an affiliated professor of Computational Science and Engineering, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, and faculty advisor for the Red Team, which competes in the National Cyber League (NCL).

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.

The Army and Air Force have active ROTC programs on Michigan Tech’s campus.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.


Congratulations, RedTeam@MTU!

National Cyber League Logo

RedTeam@MTU, one of Michigan Tech’s National Cyber League (NCL) teams, placed 8th out of 689 teams in the recent NCL Fall 2019 cyber competition team game. The team consists of seven College of Computing undergraduate and graduate students: Alexander Larkin, John Claassen, Jack Bergman, Jon Preuth, Trevor Hornsby, Shane Hoppe, and Matthew Chau. In addition, two RedTeam@MTU team members ranked in the top 100 out of 4149 players in the individual game: John Claassen (67th) and Alex Larkin (70th).

“This is a breakthrough since first joining the NCL competition in Fall 2017,” said faculty coach Bo Chen, assistant professor of computer science. “Congratulations to the RedTeam and John Claasen and Alex Larkin!”

Three teams and 21 players from Michigan Tech were involved this season, most of them with the RedTeam@MTU, a student organization which exists to promote a security-driven mindset among the student population, and to provide a community and resource for those wishing to learn more about information security.  The RedTeam is co-advised by Bo Chen and Yu Cai, professor in the College of Computing.

Students from hundreds of U.S. universities participated during the Fall 2019 NCL season, which comprised a week-long Preseason placement game, followed by a weekend Individual Game, and culminating in a weekend Team Game. A total of 689 teams and 4149 players  participated.

In addition, Michigan Tech ranks 11th among the top 100 colleges and universities in the “Team” Cyber Power Rankings, 51st in the Individual Rank, and 23rd in the Participation Rank. The Cyber Power Rankings were created by Cyber Skyline in partnership with the National Cyber League (NCL). The rankings represent the ability of students from these schools to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform, such as identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Schools are ranked based on their top team performance, their top student’s individual performance, and the aggregate individual performance of their students. View the full ranking list at https://cyberskyline.com/data/power-ranking/fall-2019-national.

Founded in 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills, the NCL is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps high school and college students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. All participants played the games simultaneously during all of the Fall season games.

The NCL challenges are based on the CompTIA Security+™ and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)™ performance-based exam objectives and include the following content: Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, and Web Application Security. Players of all levels can participate in the NCL games. Through easy, medium and hard challenges, students have multiple opportunities to excel.

Learn more about the NCL at: https://www.nationalcyberleague.org/.

Cyber Skyline Logo

Cyber Skyline is an immersive cloud platform on which to practice, develop, and measure technical cybersecurity skills. It is built for Incident Response Handlers, Security & Network Engineers, SOC Analysts, Software Engineers, Pentesters, and more. Visit the Cyber Skyline website at: https://cyberskyline.com.