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Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering hosts cybersecurity camp for high school teachers

June 26, 2017

High school teachers attend cybersecurity course at the first Virginia Tech GenCyber Camp in the summer of 2016.

High school teachers attend cybersecurity course at the first Virginia Tech GenCyber Camp in the summer of 2016.
High school teachers attend cybersecurity course at the first Virginia Tech GenCyber Camp in the summer of 2016.

For the second year, the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech will host two GenCyber teacher’s camps for 50 high school teachers from across the country.

The cybersecurity educational camps will take place on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus June 25-29 and July 9-13.

“Educating secondary school teachers enables them to better train their pupils on both the nature of the technology and safe practices in the use of this computing and communication capability,” said Joseph Tront, professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the project’s principal investigator. “We view the camps as a recruiting opportunity in that the teachers who participate will be able to refer their technically minded students to apply to Virginia Tech to study engineering and computer science.”

The multipurpose goals of the cybersecurity event are to:

  • improve cybersecurity awareness among high school teachers;
  • motivate high school teachers to integrate cybersecurity lessons into their curriculum;
  • raise awareness of Virginia Tech’s role in cybersecurity education; and
  • increase recruitment of high school students into Virginia Tech’s cybersecurity curriculum.

During the camp, high school teachers will use the Virginia Cyber Range to participate in lab exercises by using the courseware and a cloud-hosted, virtual environment. Proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in spring 2016, the Cyber Range’s mission is to enhance cybersecurity education in Virginia high schools, colleges, and universities.

Student interns will also provide demonstrations of cybersecurity on the internet of things. Demos will include how heating and air conditioning systems can be commandeered by attackers and how lighting systems can be adversely controlled to trigger medical conditions.

Ingrid Burbey is the project manager of the teachers’s GenCyber program at Virginia Tech, and David Raymond, deputy director of information technology security at Virginia Tech, is the lead instructor for the camp. Burbey will teach a lab on the “Rubber Ducky,” a hacking device that looks similar to a USB flash drive, but can be programmed to hack into a computer or phone.

Along with Burbey, Tront, and Raymond, the Virginia Tech Information Technology Security Office is collaborating with the team to provide support for the Virginia Tech GenCyber Camps. The two campus events are sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

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