Inside the NSA’s Cyber Security Summer Camp

This summer, there are a total of 122 GenCyber camps across the country

Cybersecurity
The NSA has co-sponsored s series of summer camps to educate students about cybersecurity
Richard Patterson/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / August 17, 2019 7:00 am

Ah, the traditions of summer camp. Three-legged races, the rivalry with the camp across the river and ghost stories told by the fire. And let’s not forget the all-important task of understanding networ,s ecurity and the ways that hackers can cause damage on a national or global scale. 

In a new article by Sue Halpern, The New Yorker takes readers inside the world of GenCyber, a series of summer camps sponsored by the National Security Agency. In the case of this summer, there have been 122 camps held across the country, each funded by both the NSA and the National Science Foundation. They have different areas of focus: the article cites one that addresses car hacking and another which takes campers through an airport hack. 

And it’s free for participants, making for a group of campers taken from an impressively wide range of society. “It attracts students from Westchester’s wealthy communities and from districts that are hurting, homeschooled students and others from parochial schools,” Halpern writes. 

Camp director Pauline Mosley emphasized that one of her goals was to bring more women into the cybersecurity field. “We have to educate women that cybersecurity is not a man’s domain,” she told Halpern. 

The article provides a fascinating look inside what goes on at several of the camps. There’s a very pragmatic reason for the NSA to have set up these camps: namely, a dearth of qualified candidates for jobs on the security side of all things online. 

There are currently more than three hundred thousand unfilled cybersecurity jobs in both government and the private sector in the United States alone. Worldwide, the number is expected to be three and a half million by 2021; that year, cybercrime is expected to cost six trillion dollars.

Will the campers of today be combating the hackers of tomorrow? That’s what some in government are currently banking on.

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