Local Teens Cybercamp – #WATWB

A few weeks ago, here in the US, a cyber-attack sent frenzied people up and down the east coast to wait in long lines at gas stations. A gasoline pipeline operator had become victim to a ransomware attack and, in an abundance of caution, they shut down the pipeline.

We read about these attacks all the time. Sometimes it’s an individual whose finances were ruined. Sometimes it’s a small company, a government agency and sometime, as was the case with Colonial Pipeline, an attack effects millions of people.

At the University of Pittsburgh, people operating a youth cyber-camp is trying to educate the resources we will need to combat these threats in the future:

The only thing standing between a critical computing system and a nefarious hacker is you, a cybersecurity guru. Without your unwavering dedication, the entire system can be breached. The damage can range from data and financial losses to the crippling of an entire U.S. industry. Will you keep us safe?”

But, it’s more than just a training ground for future cyber-crime-fighters. In addition to the goal of getting young people interested in a career in a field that is in the national interest, this program is also helping the community.

Re: the above quote – “Seems like a lot of pressure to put on a teenager, but it’s the scenario that kids in Pitt’s AFA CyberCamp tackle during a week of fun, learning, and personal challenge. Coordinated through the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security (Pitt Cyber) and Pitt Information Technology, CyberCamp is based on the Air Force Association CyberPatriot curriculum. For Pitt Cyber, the program is about more than giving tech-minded high schoolers a good time while exposing them to cybersecurity concepts. It’s also about reaching out to a diverse group of students to raise awareness and create a path to cybersecurity careers, which also helps develop Western PA’s tech industry pipeline.

For underprivileged kids with limited access to technology and girls trying to overcome the gender gap in computing, a career in IT can seem unattainable. CyberCamp is trying to change that. Each year, it strives to bridge the digital divide by attracting a diverse set of students and staff.”

I encourage you to read the entire article. Kids, kids who have never lived a day without being in the presence of technology, will be the best weapons we bring to bear on techno-criminals. If, at the same time as we are educating these future crime-fighters, we can also give underprivileged children access to good careers, we can change their lives. Note: while my article is from Pitt News, this is a national program sponsored by the Air Force Association.

The “We are the World” Blogfest continues, well into its third year. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. Click HERE for more information, guidelines and the hosts for this month’s event. Click HERE to visit the #WATWB Community Facebook page.

39 comments

  1. I had not heard of this Cybercamp, Dan. Thank goodness, there is hope on the horizon. The line, “The only thing standing between a critical computing system and a nefarious hacker is you,” is a wake-up call for sure. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our youth is our future. Kudos to those who attend this camp and carry on its work. What a shame that as all this new technology is created, we have to train people how to spot the “bad guys” and understand the damage they can do BEFORE they do it. It’s really very scary how widespread the bad guys can reach.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The positive side of humanity”? “Resilience of the human spirit”? We so need to be reminded, and, if my grandchildren are any indication, I think young folks will make it so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dan – it seems like a great idea – especially as so often they’ll learn to overcome things working as a team … encouraging other aspects of life. And I’m sure building leaders for the future too … I expect the concept will be copied and added to in other areas. Fantastic idea for WATWB … thank you – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! Although I wish it weren’t needed it would be a great educational opportunity. I would have loved something like this when I was a teenager (think back to Commodore 64 days lol). Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB.Hope you have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come with technology. My last year of highschool I had a co-op with the Toronto office of the computer company that did the graphics for the movie Tron (I know nothing by today’s standards) it was such an incredible experience. These kids will learn so much and understand the practical uses of what they learn.

        Liked by 1 person

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