Delaware joins cybersecurity program for high-school girls - Technical.ly Delaware

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Jan. 23, 2018 12:59 pm

Delaware joins cybersecurity program for high-school girls

The game “Girls Go CyberStart” targets young women in an effort to increase gender diversity in the field.

A new program looks to get more Delaware women working in cybersecurity.

(Photo by Flickr user Vu Bui, used under a Creative Commons license)

Cybersecurity is a field overflowing with career opportunities — which is why Delaware state government partnered with the SANS Institute to pilot the youth cybersecurity program CyberStart last summer. There was only one problem with the program: out of the 359 Delaware students enrolled in the pilot, only 5 percent were young women.

So, the SANS Institute and the State of Delaware are partnering again on a new program that provides girls in high school the opportunity to discover their aptitude and learn basic cybersecurity skills through a no-cost online game of discovery called Girls Go CyberStart.

“The importance of cybersecurity cannot be understated and I encourage young women in Delaware high schools to take advantage of this opportunity to explore career options in this vital field,” said Gov. John Carney. “Delaware needs a pipeline of talent and a strong workforce to remain competitive in the innovation economy..”

Registration will begin Jan. 29, 2018 and end Feb. 16, and is limited to 10,000 young women from Delaware, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming and American Samoa.

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The online game, which includes things like cryptography, penetration testing and digital forensics, will be held Feb. 20–25.

Each player starts as a “cyber protection agent” responsible for protecting an important operational base. The student chooses and solves challenges, earning points along the way. A cyber protection agent field manual provides answers to questions that may arise, and hints are available to help when players get stuck. When the player has solved a sufficient number of challenges at one level, a new level opens up and new challenges appear – for a total of 10 levels.

No knowledge of cybersecurity or special tech skills are required — the game is meant to identify young women who show an aptitude for the field. Prizes include computers and a trip to the 2018 Women in CyberSecurity Conference in Chicago.

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