The computer science department at NYU Polytechnic began the hacking contest five years ago for its own students.
Now, it's become quite the event.
"We have a complex puzzle to solve and we work on it for a couple of hours, it's a good time," says student Adam Comella.
Students from high school through post graduate study qualified at the regional level to take part in the finals.
"Beforehand, I was more interested in the computer aspect of it, but now I realize how much more there is to learn in the cyber-forensics aspect of it," stated high school student James Ting. There were five categories of hacking in the competition.
One of them was similar to the game called "Capture the Flag".
College student Andrew Zonenberg explained, "In this one, the scenario was your computer has been infected by a virus and you have to figure out how it works."
The students competed for cash prizes.
There could also be future payoffs, due to a critical shortage of computer security experts.
"These skills are needed by companies to protect their assets, their property, and their information from hackers on the internet and miscellaneous. It's also needed by government and the country to protect critical infrastructure," explained Dino Daizovi, a computer security expert.
All the students in the competition gained valuable relationships that could follow them into the future, should they decide to enter the world of cyber-security.