UO Security Club aims to become official student group

One of the University of Oregon’s most secretive clubs is attempting to become an official ASUO student organization. The UO Security Club is a computer based group that focuses on cyber security.

The club was unofficially founded by UO student Joe Pletcher. Because the group wasn’t registered in the university’s club list, news of the group was only spread by word of mouth.

Anders “Ders” Stadum, a co-leader in the group, jokes the cyber security club was so difficult to find that it was also a physical security club.

UOSec focuses on teaching how to protect their computers against hackers and virus attacks. Instead of using tactics that one would learn in a class at the university, the group uses “offensive security,” according to club leader Adam Pond.

“The best way to learn to prevent these types of offensive security vulnerabilities (in computers) is to figure out how to break them,” Pond said.

Along with its weekly meetings, UOSec also competes in security tournaments. In these Capture the Flag tournaments, teams attempt to hack into their opponent’s computer, along with many other programing and puzzle solving trials.

The team has competed in CTFs such as Ghost in the Shellcode in the past, and participated in HackIM on Jan. 11. The team placed 100th out of 378 teams.

The majority of the group’s members come from a class titled CIS 433: Computer & Network Security. Professor Jun Li teaches the class and requires his students attend the meetings for credit.

To become officially recognized the group needs to meet at least twice a month for six months and have a minimum of five people. Documentation of these events must be created and sent to ASUO to prove a consistent membership base. This is to show that the group won’t dismantle, according to a past article from The Emerald.

UOSec has struggled to maintain its membership, according to Pond, especially when its former club leader graduated and its former club advisor transferred schools.

Pond is helping to rebuild the club, explaining it as “rising like the phoenix.” With the help of Pond and his associates, the club is more user-friendly and accessible.

Pond wishes for the club to “be a tool that can help people get into the security industry.”

The group has had several members recruited to work for security companies. Stadum explained that UOSec is on the list of many recruiters and that it isn’t uncommon to see its members hired straight out of school.

UOSec hopes to become an official club by the end of the winter 2015. Since all of the club’s leaders are graduating seniors, the group may face the issue of of mass membership loss. But the club is determined to grow and become an official ASUO student organization in the future.

Follow Eric Schucht on Twitter @EricSchucht

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