The Air Force sponsors a High School cyber defense program called CyberPatriot, where schools form teams of students who compete with other teams in a NCAA-style March Madness where the kids have to secure a set of computers and an Air Force Red Team attacks:Now I don't know. Yes, it would be a great field for the kids to get into. Yes, the program is great hands-on experience, and can help kids get into great college programs. Yes, the country needs more IT security experts.
Here's what's cool: the skills that the kids learn are basic IT administration, with an emphasis on security. Passwords, patches, configuration settings. There's a curriculum downloadable from the CyberPatriot web site, but the contents will be familiar to anyone who's in IT.CyberPatriot is the premier national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. CyberPatriot is not a hacking competition. CyberPatriot's goal is to excite students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.The CompetitionIn each competition round, students are provided one to three virtual machines. These machines contain several vulnerabilities, and students must clean the image of them. The virtual machines can have Windows or GNU/Linux Operating systems. They are given a set amount of time on the competition day to do so. Teams that find the most vulnerabilities pass on to the next round, and the winners of all three rounds compete in the National Championships in Washington, D.C.
But dig this: while you have to actually be a teacher at the school to be a coach, the system relies on "mentors" who volunteer from the community. Anyone can do it, although they'll do a background check on you. I'm trying to talk #2 Son's JROTC commander into signing up.
But the whole NSA Spyapalooza thing has made me reconsider whether I should help the military get more guys who very well might end up feeding that beast. Maybe I'm over reacting, but part of me really doesn't trust the DoD - in such a deep, deep way - that my heart isn't in it. If they ask me to, I probably will, but I'm not sure if I'll bring it up.
If #2 Son wants to learn, I'll teach him.
Man, I never thought things would come to this.