High school students from the top three teams in the 2014 Mayors’ Cyber Cup spent this week at Cyber Boot Camp, hosted in the ESET building in Little Italy (the tall dark blue one with the ESET logo on top).
The Cyber Boot Camp format combines classroom presentations and discussions with hands-on work in the custom-built computer lab, seen here:
This year’s lab consists of 20 workstations running Linux and/or Windows, a big Cisco switch, various servers, and a variety of wireless access points, all of which become potential targets and a test of cyber defense skills. While the servers and networking infrastructure were put together by ESET researchers using gear supplied by the company as part of its sponsorship of the event, the workstations were loaned by Computers 2 San Diego Kids, to which they will be returned after the boot camp. (Every city should have an organization like C2SDK, a wonderful non-profit organization that recycles computers into the community.)
The lectures include security experts from around the San Diego area, including several members of the FBI’s cyber task force. We can’t show their pictures for security reasons, but here is Andrew Lee, CEO of ESET North America, discussing careers in cyber security with students.
The event would not be possible without the support of volunteers from the community. This year we got some great help from UCSD graduate students, all experienced “Capture the Flag” participants who clearly found that lending a hand at the boot camp was a very rewarding experience.
One of the great joys of this year’s boot camp was seeing students from different high schools working together to solve security problems, with these grad students offering suggestions and guidance as needed, acting as a form of learning accelerant. For next year’s boot camp we will be looking for more students from area colleges and universities to assist with the program.
The boot camp is such an intense experience that documenting it in real time is a real challenge. However, we did make sure that plenty of photos were taken and more will be posted here as time permits. The event was also documented by local and national media. For those who speak the language of Marketing and PR here is a number you might find interesting: combined national reach of the boot camp coverage is currently nearly 195 million unique monthly site visitors. Here are just some of the reports: