DSU’s CPTC Competes at Globals

Dakota State University’s Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition or CPTC team competed at globals in Rochester, N.Y., winning two awards.

Penetration testing helps companies and organizations know what is and isn’t vulnerable in their network. CPTC allows collegiate cybersecurity students to perform real-world penetration testing with a fictional business. 


DSU’s team was tasked with assessing the security of Robert A. Kalka Metropolitan Skyport (RAKMS), a fictitious airport, during this competition. 

The team members determined their roles for the competition and practiced report writing. 


These reports require participants to go into further detail with a narrative of what happened, how they exploited services to gain access, and more specifics about vulnerabilities, 


Additionally, the teams had to review vulnerabilities previously patched in both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and on-premise environments to ensure they remained secure.


DSU’s team won the Microsoft 365 Evangelists award for exploiting the exchange server the most out of all the competing teams. They also earned the Close Shave Award for password spraying, being the team with the most failed login attempts on accounts with the least number of lockouts. 

In addition to practicing real-world skills, competitions like these are also good networking opportunities for students and  provide students with learning experiences they can apply to other situations. 


This year’s CPTC team included  Derek Manzella, a junior Cyber Operations major from Eagan, Minn. Austen King, a Cyber Defense master’s student from Volga, S.D.  Ryan Kleffman, a junior Cyber Operations major from Hermantown, Minn. Merrill Newman, a freshman Cyber Operations major from Gering, Neb.  Daniel Sobczak, a sophomore Cyber Operations major from Denver, Colo. Gage Schacher, a senior Cyber Operations major from Denver, Colo..