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This past weekend, four ACU students attended the 7th annual Texas Security Awareness Week (TexSAW) conference at the University of Texas at Dallas. TexSAW is a two day event created as a way to expose students interested in the field of computer security to various concepts, which will help not only expand their knowledge of the subject but also broaden potential career opportunities.

At TexSAW, ACU students were able to meet other students interested in the field of cybersecurity from universities and colleges all over Texas. On Friday, three different workshops were put on by UTD graduate students about web security, introduction to reverse engineering, and cryptography. Leo Lai, Senior Information Technology Major, said “I think what was presented by the graduate students and guest speakers really refreshed my memory on some of the subjects. But I was also able to learn more of the basics, which are important to truly grasp the subject as a whole.”

There was also a lecture from Sean Hollingsead, an employee of State Farm, who talked about the changes and growth in cybersecurity. State Farm was a sponsor of the conference and talked to students about potential internships and the need for jobs within the computer security field. Zane Burton, junior Computer Science major, said “The most helpful thing I learned at the conference was probably how much of a need there is for cyber security in the workforce. This was one of the things that State Farm talked about as well as the security they implemented within their business, really emphasizing the need for more people within the field”.

On Saturday, students participated in a competition called “Capture the Flag” where students were presented with problems that tested their newly-learned skills in computer security. Anna ter Kuile, junior Computer Science major, even expressed that it was her favorite part of the conference because it involved solving riddles that were fun yet challenging and really helped put into practice what they had learned the previous day. Both teams were very successful and enjoyed the experience. All of the students that attended want to encourage more students to attend next year as, not only is it free, but there is something new to learn every year. Watch the videos below to learn more about how our ACU SITC students prepared for the competition and what they valued about the conference.




See what the students in attendance thought were the most valuable aspects of the conference:


Here is Junior Computer Science and Political Science Major, Kevin Schurtz, sharing what he did to prep for the “Capture the Flag” competition:


For more information, go to TexSAW’s website, http://csi.utdallas.edu/events/TexSAW-2017/ , or contact Rob Byrd at rrb07a@acu.edu.