Educating the Future of Cybersecurity

As cyber attackers evolve with the times, so too will those who fight back—and as one summer camp knows, it all starts with the next generation.

This year, with money from a recently awarded National Science Foundation and National Security Agency grant, Harford Community College in Maryland launched its GenCyber Smart Camp for middle schoolers. Like any grade-school program, the camp makes a point of teaching safe online behavior, but it also works to empower and inspire those interested in the developing field of cybersecurity.

Harford received the grant in the spring, and promptly set to work putting together the camp with Dawn Grissom, project director of integrated business and applied technologies; Frank Mayer, adjunct faculty for cybersecurity; and David Antol, coordinator for applied technology programs. They worked with curriculum designers to create a plan to teach students about the Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are a part of their lives and homes.

To encourage underrepresented populations in the field of cybersecurity, the camp was offered at no cost and included lunch, snacks, and before and aftercare programs. To be eligible, a student had to be a Harford County resident, an incoming seventh- or eighth-grader and between 11 and 14 years old, and had a B average or higher in math and science in the first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year.

Practice Makes Potential

While IoT devices were an important and relevant part of the curriculum, it didn’t stop there. Campers learned about different increasingly popular technologies in the digital age, including fitness trackers, global positioning systems, smartphone applications, wearable technology, and drones.

The weeklong program was designed to give students insight into the most important cybersecurity principles through a wide range of experiences, from low-tech to high-tech engagement. Apart from the more technical aspects of security, campers also had the opportunity to learn about traditional aspects, including elements of physical cybersecurity.

The camp also emphasized hands-on experiences. Students were able to investigate, program, and hack Roomba vacuum cleaners, program an Amazon Alexa, and learn from HCC drone technology instructor Richard Gutierrez and former instructor Joe Damanico about the risks, safety and security, and ethical issues related to drones.

One aspect of the curriculum took a simpler approach to the complex subject of cryptography, using handmade Caesar cipher wheels to introduce the students to higher-level concepts in cybersecurity.

School’s Not Out

It’s never too late to learn something new, be it the basics of cybersecurity or how to bolster your organization’s system. Even a 100% compliant organization can be vulnerable in the real world against a skilled attacker—so where do you stand, and how effective will your defenses be?

Our Red Team Assessment evaluates your risk against current threats using multiple key attack vectors and a proven process:

  • Assessment of real-world threat vectors
  • Circumvent security systems and controls
  • Compromise perimeter/internal systems
  • Establish persistent internal connections
  • Gain network user account access
  • Gain elevated privilege (admin) access
  • Identify key systems and databases
  • Establish backdoor access to key systems
  • Capture sensitive data for validation

For a well-rounded assessment designed to educate for your benefit, contact us today.

Posted in BAI Security Blog.