Phoenix, Ariz. January 30, 2018Terra Verde employees and management joined the ASU staff to help students from area high schools, colleges, and grad schools compete in a Capture-the-Flag cybersecurity challenge over the weekend.

Gavin Stroy, a Terra Verde cybersecurity researcher and consultant, assisted in the creation of the platform the students used. “This year, we hosted 28 total challenges spread across 5 different domains: Linux, Cryptography, Programming, Binary, and ‘Miscellaneous’. Linux is such a staple within the security industry that, to be successful, you need to know Linux. Each team was given their own Linux server.”

The students spent four and a half hours dabbling in a secure learning environment with real-world application.

“I am enjoying it. I have never really had the opportunity to explore this in real life and I am having a lot of fun with it,” said Kevin Lowe, a Computer Science and Mathematics student at ASU.

Kim Jones, the Director of Cybersecurity Education Consortium at ASU, said, “The event (with Terra Verde’s sponsorship) is a genuine learning challenge. 90-95% of the Hack-a-thons out there are geared for people in the industry and used more for recruitment. You could be a high school kid and come in here with no cyber experience just to learn.”

Terra Verde considered the various skill levels and formed an engaging affair for everyone.

Ida Schmidt, a senior at West-MEC high school talked about her experience. “There’s a good leeway between the really easy things and the challenging ones. Somethings were log into the server while others were find a specific file on a server, execute it, and then modify it in a specific way so that you can inject yourself into the system,” she said. Her and her teammates wound up taking third place.

Ida was among fifteen or so young ladies that participated in the challenge. Malia Hall, another West-MEC senior said, “It makes me feel good to know I am here doing something. I don’t see any other ladies here besides the ones participating that are doing what I am.”

The winning team beat the entire challenge with an hour and a half to spare. Abdulhakim Sabur, a grad student at ASU, was on that winning team. He said, “Overall it was a team effort. The reverse engineering was my personal challenge.”

Each person there learned something from the experience. For the students that participated in the event, you can find the challenges and write-ups here:

Phoenix’s Channel 12 news also covered this event and you can check out the piece here:

Terra Verde is committed to developing the next generation of cybersecurity workers within Arizona and the southwest region. The company partners with public, private, and higher education organizations to recruit, develop, and employ IT and security professionals with years of experience in security and compliance, recognized experts in their field, and hold multiple security and professional certifications.

Edward Vasko, Terra Verde’s CEO, sits on the board of directors for Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE), West-MEC’s Advisory Board, has been an active member of the ASU New College Advisory Board since 2002, and was a founding member of the ASU Cyber Education Consortium.

Terra Verde has been a long-time supporter of ASU and Mr. Vasko delivered a graduate convocation speech at the ASU West campus in December 2017.


For more information, please visit

Contact Information

Public Relations

Terra Verde

Phone: 1.877.707.7997