Cybersecurity Camp for Teens Comes to Rhode Island

by | Jul 17, 2019

By Aiza Shaikh

Your name. Your address. Your email. Your nationality. Your birthday. A hacker only needs to know two of these things to steal your personal information or identity. Even with a 30-character-long password, your account will never be secure enough. These are only a couple of challenges you may encounter on the internet. 

Others exist, but they can be avoided, thanks to cybersecurity. 

Cybersecurity is the protection of online data from cyberattacks. Cyberattacks can range from phishing emails to identity theft. Without cybersecurity, nobody’s information or business would be safe. 

At the Rhode Island College’s GenCyber Camp this summer, 30 students learned how to protect themselves and others on the internet. Including me and one other EGHS student. GenCyber is a nationwide organization with the purpose of exposing high school students to cybersecurity and its threats. GenCyber is fully funded by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. These organizations hope to inspire young people to pursue careers in cybersecurity, a field that needs more interested people. 

At the cybersecurity camp at Rhode Island College.

At GenCyber Camp, we spent a week learning how to counterattack a cyberattack, no matter how big or how small. We coded with Python, JavaScript, and Linux, and used multiple ciphers to decrypt encrypted messages. One of the most exciting activities of the week was a scavenger hunt that included encrypted clues. All of the camp’s activities used real-world examples to show students why cybersecurity is so important today. 

Although it has taken place in 39 other states for years, this is the first year GenCyber Camp took place in Rhode Island. Dr. Suzanne Mello-Stark, a computer science professor at Rhode Island College, decided to start the camp this year in her home state after directing GenCyber camps for four years in other states. 

GenCyber is a unique camp because it is one of the only camps that focuses on cybersecurity. Moreover, it introduces students to topics that are not usually taught at high schools. Although Computer Science is offered as a class at many schools, it is very rare for a cybersecurity class to be offered. 

If you are interested in or would like to learn more about cybersecurity, you can contact  Mello-Stark at [email protected]

Aiza Shaikh is a rising junior at East Greenwich High School. An intern for EG News, she wrote about Safety Town earlier this month.

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