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Cybersecurity Team Wins Prestigious ISACA Case Study Competition

Katz’s student team, Cymple Bits Security, presents its case study to ISACA judges.

This post was originally published by Maureen Brennan in YU News on June 13, 2022.

On May 18, 2022, students from the Katz School of Science and Health found out they won first place in the ISACA Cybersecurity Case Study Competition for the second year in a row. The victorious Cymple Bits Security team, led by Kevin Suckiel ’22, included Jacob Leichter ’22 , Orly Schejter ’23 and Margarita Zeleniy (Brooklyn Technical High School.)

The competition, which this year awarded $21,000 in scholarships, is open to students at U.S.-based universities, colleges and high schools, regardless of their majors or degrees.

Also in the News: Fortune Magazine ranks the online master's degree in cybersecurity second in the nation, putting Yeshiva University in good company with the University of California, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins University.

ISACA is a prestigious organization," said Sivan Tehila, director of the Katz’s cybersecurity program, who mentored the Katz team in the last two competitions and was named ISACA’s Outstanding Academic Advisor for 2022. "Receiving this kind of recognition is not only a network builder for our students just starting their careers, but also a signifier that they are on top of their game.”

Established in 2020, the ISACA Cybersecurity Case Study Competition is the brainchild of Eugene Levin and Barry Dynkin, board members of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of ISACA, a global not-for-profit professional association focusing on IT audit, risk and governance and, more recently, cybersecurity.

“Part of our mission,” said Levin, “is to work with local colleges and universities to broaden students’ perspectives on the many career choices supported by ISACA.” Right now, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. “That’s one of the reasons why we created this case study competition,” added Levin, “to help students better understand the skills, talents and mindset needed in this fast-evolving field.”

Katz’s Cymple Bits Security was one of 17 teams from seven educational institutions assigned to tackle the same case study. Pop Vote, a provider of electronic voting technology, experienced distributed denial of service attacks that compromised the validity of online voters’ choices. The result was a compromised and controversial election process.

Vying to develop the best solution to what the company feared would be a recurring threat, each team approached the problem as if they were outside consultants, analyzing past failures to prevent future ones and ensure a secure voting process.

After the first round of competition winnowed the teams from 17 to 10, the finalists presented their recommendations via YouTube to a panel of judges comprised of information security leaders from Google, PayPal, CVS Health, Align Communications and Atlas Cybersecurity. The judges cited the Katz team for its “quality of presentation, its skill at responding to interview questions and depth of cybersecurity knowledge.”

For Suckiel, the competition was a double win. In addition to leading the first-place team, he received ISACA’s academic award for 2022 Outstanding Student Contributor. “From a professional perspective, the competition helped me tremendously,” said Suckiel. “It gave me and my other team members a chance to think beyond the four walls of our classroom and strengthen our collaborative skills.”