Oluwafunmilola Adepegba and Fidelis Jackson, two students in Niagara University in Ontario’s master’s degree program in information security and digital forensics, were able to put what they were learning in the classroom to work during the inaugural Halt the Hack Cyber Security Hackathon on Nov. 6, 2023. The competition was hosted by Ontario’s Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence in partnership with the Government of Ontario’s Cyber Security Division and the City of Toronto.

2nd place team web2

Oluwafunmilola Adepegba (in pink) with her team and judges Ali Abbas Mehboob Hirji (in red), Jeff Musson (second from right), and Julia Le (far right).

The two students were among nearly 100 of their peers from colleges and universities across Ontario who teamed up to resolve a real-life scenario involving a learning system with network issues. The teams were asked to identify possible attacks or threats on the system and to provide recommendations to resolve the problems. The top five teams then presented their proposals in front of a panel of judges composed of Julia Le, senior manager at the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence; Jeff Musson, president and CEO of Dynamitenetwork.com; and Ali Abbas Mehboob Hirji, cybersecurity lead at Youth Employment Services.

Adepegba’s team was one of the five selected to present and was named second-place winner in the competition. She credits the hands-on experiences she receives in her ISDF courses, especially a recent project she completed in a course taught by Dr. Perry Benson that involved SQL injection and vulnerability scanning, with preparing her for the challenge.

“The activities involved in this competition were related to CS0500 Principles of Information Security and Fed Law, taught by Professor Benson,” she said. “His hands-on experience mode of coaching and project assignments and quizzes really helped me. I believe my contribution to the task had a great impact on the success of my team.

“The event gave me a platform to input my experience and to display the knowledge I have been able to acquire in my course of study at Niagara University,” she continued. “It was an amazing day!”

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