Cyber Students Awarded DoD Scholarship

Exciting News from the Cyber Center!

We are thrilled to announce that two of our talented students have been awarded the prestigious DoD CySP Scholarship! Our students’ dedication to cybersecurity and commitment to excellence have truly set them apart. Out of 670 students across the nation who applied for this scholarship, roughly 100 were selected.

The scholarship award includes full scholarship, stipend for living expenses, summer internships, and employment after graduation.

Join us in celebrating this significant achievement for our students. Their hard work and passion for advancing cyber security are inspiring to all of us. Here’s to the bright futures awaiting them in the field of cybersecurity! Congratulations!

CCDC Regionals 2024

The Messiah University cybersecurity team competed in the collegiate cyber defense competition (CCDC) regional competition on March 23, 2024. This year’s team consisted of David Bibighaus (coach), Ray Truex (captain), Brandan Snook, Grace Taylor, Aidan Hubley, Chris Copeland, Carolina Hatch, and Ben Clarke. The inherit and defend competition took place at Prince George’s Community College and was an eight-hour day of securing systems from attackers, keeping systems operational, responding to business tasks, creating incident reports, and meeting with C-suite executives.

Carolina Hatch, a junior who coordinated the completion of the business tasks, said after the competition “[regionals] was a great opportunity for the team to learn and grow, both in our skills and our relationships”. Her assessment is very accurate, the team learned that there is much room for improvement in areas such as using firewalls, switches, and Windows administration. The team also had the chance to network with other schools and employers to cultivate collaboration as the team continues to prepare for next year.

The team ended the competition at 8th of 10 schools, improving from last years position of 9th. While the team would like to have placed a bit higher, we are happy with the progress that we have made since the club was founded last year. Within the first two years of participating, the team has been able to place high enough in the qualifiers to earn a spot at the regional’s competition both years. The team will continue to prepare and has hopes of improving placement at regionals next year.

Thank you to Ray Truex for this recap… and way to go, team! #messiahcyber

Messiah University cybersecurity team at CCDC Regionals in Maryland, March 2024

Scouts Merit Badge in Digital Technology

The Scouts BSA gathered on campus on two recent Saturdays to attend the Merit Badge College hosted by Messiah.  In our Cyber Center, scouts attended workshops to complete their  Digital Technology merit badge.   They reviewed and completed several of the requirements needed to earn their badge, including:

  • the history of digital technology over time,
  • the kinds of devices they imagined might be available when they are an adult,
  • digital storage of text, sounds and pictures,
  • lossy and lossless data compression,
  • useful and programmable digital devices,
  • similarities and differences between devices, computer networks, programs and apps,
  • history and threat of malware,
  • protecting their digital privacy,
  • internet browsing security.

Director of Cybersecurity Education, Lynn Bigelow, was present to provide instruction on these topics along with a scout leader. An informational session, co-led by cybersecurity major Grace Taylor, was held for parents during lunch to talk about computer science and cybersecurity studies. Scouts spent the day completing nine of the tasks required to earn their merit badge in digital technology, and will finish the other eight on their own using the information they gained at the workshops.

It was a privilege to host the Scouts BSA and aid in their cybersecurity learning journey!

Cyber Camp 2024!

Messiah University’s Cyber Camp is back!

This year, students will take part in even more hands-on cyber labs, simulations, and interactive gaming scenarios. We’ll cover topics such as cryptography, online behavior and privacy, ethical hacking, social engineering, threat intelligence, using AI to defend the digital domain, and more. This day camp for high school students entering 9th through 12th grade is a great way to dive into the world of cybersecurity. Students will receive instruction directly from our cybersecurity faculty and local industry experts, all while getting to experience an introduction to what college life is all about. Space is limited, so register soon! Click image above for all the details ☝️

Watch a video of last year’s Cyber Camp:

Naval Supply Systems Command Visits Cyber Center

The Cybersecurity Education Program hosted an event with the local Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) for computer science and cybersecurity majors. NAVSUP employees Kevin Davis and Camryn Behner came to speak with the students about internship and career opportunities at the NAVSUP in Mechanicsburg.

Students learned about how NAVSUP maintains the IT infrastructure in the Navy’s supply chains, applies cybersecurity fundamentals in everything from testing and building a product to reading and updating policies, and ensures logistics systems are operational. “All military failures revolve around logistics. Logistics are a huge factor in military success,” Kevin Davis explained.

Beverly Motich, Adjunct Instructor in Computer Information Science at Messiah, was also on hand to talk about her 30-year career in IT with NAVSUP.

We look forward to continued opportunities for our students to work with NAVSUP as interns and full-time employees!

NAVSUP employee Kevin Davis speaking with students. Bagels, coffee, and donuts helped round out the morning!

Messiah Cyber Students Featured in Local News

The Cybersecurity Education Program was featured in the local news this past weekend. CBS 21 in Harrisburg interviewed students Carolina Hatch and Ray Truex, along with Assistant Professor Dr. David Bibighaus, about Messiah’s cybersecurity major.

The interview features how our program is helping students apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations. It also highlights our designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, as well as the 3rd-place win our students achieved in January’s collegiate cyber defense competition.

Watch the 2.5-minute piece here >>

Dr. David Bibighaus Featured in Local News

Dr. David Bibighaus, Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity at Messiah, spoke to Fox43 News last week after a cyberattack on February 4 caused parts of the Pennsylvania Courts website to be inaccessible.

Also quoted in the piece is Allan Jacks of Morefield, a local business technology company, who was one of our guest speakers at the recent Cybersecurity J-term held in the Cyber Center in January.

Watch the interview with Dr. Bibighaus here:

Messiah University Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

We are excited to announce our designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (NCAE-CD)! This designation is awarded to regionally accredited academic institutions offering cybersecurity-related degrees. Messiah’s Cybersecurity Education Program faculty and staff dedicated over two years of their collective effort to gather the evidence necessary to achieve this designation. We are looking forward to participating and contributing to the broader CAE community, collaborating with other institutions in pedagogy and technical expertise, and providing opportunities for scholarships and full-time employment for students with various agencies across the Department of Defense.

Read Messiah’s full press release here >>

President Kim S. Phipps also mentioned it in her recent President’s Campus Update >>

Messiah’s Director of Cybersecurity Education, Prof. Lynn Bigelow, with a group of cybersecurity students holding the acceptance letter from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Local High Schools Attend Messiah’s Cybersecurity J-Term

The Cybersecurity Education Program had a great time hosting local high school students for a Cybersecurity J-Term week in early January! Students learned about IT and networking fundamentals, cryptography, ethical hacking, threat intelligence, and other cybersecurity topics through lectures, micro challenges, and hands-on exercises.

We had several guest speakers throughout the week, including a cyber threat intelligence professional from Mastercard, Messiah’s own cybersecurity professors, and both the president and the CISO of local network and IT services provider, Morefield. The week was topped off with a visit to our Security Operations Center led by Messiah’s Director of Information Security.

We thoroughly enjoyed spending the week with these students and we’re proud of how they applied themselves to learning new concepts each day. They worked together to solve problems and gained real-world cybersecurity experience that will set them up for success in any field.

If you know a high school student who is interested in diving into the world of cybersecurity, our summer Cyber Camp would be a great opportunity. This year’s Cyber Camp takes place June 10-13, and registration is now open!

Sharon Flategraff, Threat Intelligence Analyst at Mastercard, taking our J-Term students through an immersive game where they tracked threat actors for a fake company.
J-term students building their cybersecurity skills.

Messiah Cybersecurity Competition Team Wins 3rd Place!

This past Saturday (1/20), the Messiah University cybersecurity competition team participated in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The competition is an “inherit and defend” style event where teams are given a simulated business production environment and must harden the systems quickly before the attackers try to break in. In addition to securing systems the team functions as a legitimate business, responding to tasks from the C-suite and keeping all systems online. Throughout the competition the most impressive thing that Messiah’s teams did well was remain calm under pressure and communicated with each other well.

This was Messiah University’s second year participating in the competition. The senior team was comprised of Raymond Truex (captain), Grace Taylor, Aidan Hubley, Carolina Hatch, Brandan Snook, and Christopher Copeland. The first-year team was comprised of Eli Kalmbacher (captain), Austin King, Aiden Morris, and Ryan Scannell. Both teams were coached by Dr. David Bibighaus.

We are pleased to announce that the senior team placed 3rd of 24 teams and will be advancing to compete in the regional competition in March. The team is excited to return to regionals for the second year in a row and will continue preparing for the next competition.