University of Ottawa Cyber Security Students Compete for International Title

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2021

A lock in front of a world map

uOttawa is the first Canadian university to participate in the CPTC global finals

The University of Ottawa has its eye on the prize at the world's largest offensive-based collegiate cybersecurity competition.

A team of five computer science students competes in the global finals of the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC), from January 7 to 10, 2021. The competition is being held virtually this year at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) due to the pandemic.

15 universities are taking part in the finals. The University of Ottawa faces-off against Stanford University, Penn State, RIT, Carnegie Mellon and Bournemouth University (England), among other institutions.

This is Canada's first time participating in the CPTC. The University of Ottawa team won the Canadian regional competition this fall, earning a spot in the grand finale.

The team representing uOttawa is comprised of Nicolas Znamenski, Logan Rodie, Cedric Brisebois, Sean Maher and Brennan McDonald, as well as coach Guy-Vincent Jourdan, Professor in the Faculty of Engineering.

The captain and fourth year computer science student, Nicolas Znamenski, agreed to answer our questions:

1- What does it mean to you and the team to have reached the final of this prestigious competition and to be part of the top 15 in the world?

“We are all very happy to have gotten first place in the country and we are quite curious to see how the finals will turn out. On top of that, for our team members hoping to start a career in cybersecurity, this experience is not only a very useful real-world simulation of a penetration test, but also a great addition to their resumés.”

2- What distinguishes this University of Ottawa team from other universities in the competition?

“Honestly, nothing in particular! We are all big fans of cybersecurity that appreciate a challenge and love learning new things, and it’s often in those competitions that these things happen.”

3- Can you explain what this weekend's final is all about?

“The finals will follow a format similar to that of the regionals. Acting as contractors, we will have access to a fictional enterprise’s network within which we need to identify security flaws and provide a written report of our findings that includes a description of the finding as well as mitigation recommendations and the potential implications on the enterprise and human life if said findings were to be exploited.

Even though we are working for a fictional enterprise, we are still scored on our level of professionalism as well as our adherence to the rules of engagement set by the enterprise.”


People are invited to view the closing ceremony, to hear a keynote speech from experts at IBM Security and to find out who wins CPTC. The free live stream will be available on the CPTC YouTube channel in the afternoon on Jan. 10. In another live stream event during the day on Jan. 9, representatives from each school will highlight the cyber security research and efforts taking place on their campuses.

More information is available on the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition website.


For media inquiries:
Justine Boutet
Media Relations Officer
Cell: 613.762.2908

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