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UOIT computer security students shine at Quebec competition

Team earns fifth-place showing against a field of 28

Team UOIT at Hackfest in Quebec City. From left: Michael Bourque and Alex Keller (fourth-year Networking and IT Security students) with Brent MacRae and Chris Bonk (master's degree students in Computer Science).
Team UOIT at Hackfest in Quebec City. From left: Michael Bourque and Alex Keller (fourth-year Networking and IT Security students) with Brent MacRae and Chris Bonk (master's degree students in Computer Science).

The rise of technology has ushered in a new era of fast communication and unprecedented convenience in how to find information. But on the flip side of the coin, people, corporations and governments everywhere are also facing a rising number of cybersecurity challenges, as hackers attempt to exploit any weaknesses they can find in computer systems.

In many ways, the world of data encryption, privacy and cybertattacks is a never-ending contest between good and evil. With that type of playing field in mind, a team of IT Security, Networking and Computer Science students from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) showcased their academic skills at Hackfest, a feisty hands-on competition in Quebec City featuring more than 600 computer security enthusiasts.

Teams competed in a 16-hour risk-style cyber warfare game, competing against teams from Quebec universities and professional information technology organizations. Hackfest provides an ideal forum for students and industry representatives to learn, share, discuss, and contribute to emerging topics in computer security.

“I think it would be an understatement to say that all members of our team learned a lot and had a great time,” said Brent MacRae, who is working on his Master of Science in Computer Science degree at UOIT. “We love attending these competitions, as they are avenues for us to demonstrate the skills and lessons we have learned through our studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. These are the skills and traits that we can take with us to the workplace, especially for jobs in IT Security.”

Team UOIT did exceptionally well in Quebec City, placing fifth out of 28 teams. MacRae and fellow master’s student Christopher Bonk were paired with fourth-year Bachelor of IT Networking and IT Security students Michael Bourque and Alexander Keller.

UOIT’s Hackfest team was supported by the Faculty of Business and Information Technology as well as UOIT’s Office of Research Services.

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