Reynolds hosting national cyber camp
Aug 03, 2011 (Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Each month more than 10 million cyber attacks, 120 million spam messages and 20,000 virus-laden emails target Virginia's state government IT systems and users.
That was the scope of the challenge state Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey described Tuesday for about 85 people attending a national cyber-security boot camp being held this week at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
The invitation-only U.S. Cyber Challenge camp is combining hands-on training with panel discussions on ethics and issues confronting the emerging field of cyber security.
Duffey spoke at a roundtable discussion on the nation's shortage of security professionals and how they should be trained and credentialed.
The camp at Reynolds' Parham Road campus is the east-of-the-Mississippi regional event for participants selected primarily from Cyber Quests, an online competition in the spring that drew more than 800 contestants.
The participants are learning techniques that hackers already know, said Kristopher Cox, Reynolds' information-security officer.
"Ethical hacking is what we call it," said Cox, who calls himself a cyber activist.
Classes in computer forensics are designed to give participants the skills to thwart potential attacks, said Karen S. Evans, national director of U.S. Cyber Challenge.
"When you can reverse engineer," Evans said, "you can find vulnerabilities that are embedded there." The participants range in age from 18 to 46 and include college students as well as professionals, she said.
At the end of the week, their skills will be tested in a virtual "capture the flag" competition to apply what they've learned but also to challenge them "so that they'll stay engaged," she said.
The goal of the camp is to let participants "see how they can put their passion to work and make a career out of it, and how they can help the nation as a result," she said.
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