Students tackle makeshift cybersecurity attack

In our world today, just about everything is online, which makes it potentially vulnerable to a cyberattack.

Students from across the country are in Vermont this week learning the ins and outs of cybersecurity and defense.

Imagine a cybersecurity attack.

It’s a scenario 21 high school students had to face during a drill at the Vermont Special Operations Center in Waterbury — an attack on a made-up water company.

“The water company is essentially going to be hacked and operations are going to be shut down,” Todd Sears said with Vermont Emergency Management.

“Can we contact someone in Washington who might know more about the threat?” one student said during the drill.

It’s all part of the GenCyber camp hosted by Norwich University.

The week-long program is paid for by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

“The problem in the United States and indeed globally at the moment is a shortage of the skilled workforce in the cybersecurity profession,” Norwich University Associate Professor Dr. Huw Read said.

The students split up into five different groups including the National Guard, Governor’s Office and State Police, each taking on different tasks to tackle the threat.

Cyber security involves multi-agency coordination and understanding what each entity does,” Sears said.

Vermont Secretary of Digital Services John Quinn hopes after their experience the students will consider a career in the cyber realm.

“By 2020 we’ll have 20.8 billion things in the internet of things we have to worry about getting hacked,” Quinn said.

It’s something many said may be in their future.

“The systems need to be protected and that’s something I would be interested in doing,” camper Kaylee Cunningham said.

“Oh yeah, I’m really excited,” camper Benjamin Sears said.


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