November 7, 2017
The students in the Orange Hacker’s Association are “white hat hackers” – hackers who test cybersecurity programs not to break them, but to help make them safer.
“People think of it as a very bad thing but actually a hacker is just someone who knows a system very well,” said master’s student Dhruv Verma.
“Only if you try, you know where you fail. The more you attack a surface, you know where the loophole is and you can keep correcting it,” said master’s student Trishna Thrinath.
The student group is advised by Professor Kevin Du, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity researchers.
“With Professor Kevin Du, he is synonymous with cyber security, anybody in the field would be like – and we are very lucky to be under his guidance,” said Thrinath. “When he is there, we were thinking, why not have a club everybody can join in?”
The Orange Hackers had a strong showing at the CyberSeed Security Competition hosted by the University of Connecticut in October.
“There were eleven teams. So the idea was to create a secure application and then go into the competition where everybody attacks every other application and then you score points off of what flags you are able to pull out of their database or what flags you are able to pull out of their system,” said Verma.
“We not only have to protect ours, we have to find the loophole in the other teams,” said Thrinath.
“We ended up coming in second and got a special award for best offensive team,” said Verma.
Just a week later, four SU master’s students were nationally ranked for the National Cyber League fall preseason competition, Verma was ranked first, Ashutosh Rana was ranked third, Thrinath was ranked 93rd and Sheeraja Rajakrishnan was ranked 155. Impressive rankings considering how many challengers they faced.
“There are about 3300 people that participate in that. So again, Orange Hackers are doing pretty well,” said Verma.
The Orange Hackers Association is looking for new members and not just computer science or engineering students.
“Our tagline is teach, learn and collaborate. So we want to share information we that have, learn with other people connect with other professionals. Basically create a network of security interested people,” said Verma.
“I know students from other schools which is not even related to engineering who want to learn about security. Hacking is good, hacking is what keeps you safe,” said Thrinath.
If you are interested in joining, you can e-mail the Orange Hacker’s Association at [email protected] or come to a meeting Tuesdays at 7:00pm at the Center for Science and Technology (CST) Room 4-201.