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College & Career

Cybersecurity summer camp at Pitt Cyber grows, sells out

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, June 7, 2018, 4:12 p.m.
Jasdeep Sadam (far right), a rising senior at Gateway High School, strategizes with teammates during a CyberCamp cyber security competition at the University of Pittsburgh.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Jasdeep Sadam (far right), a rising senior at Gateway High School, strategizes with teammates during a CyberCamp cyber security competition at the University of Pittsburgh.
Manali Badwe (left), a rising sophomore at Franklin Regional High School, and Radhika Jois (right), a rising senior at Hillsborough High School in New Jersey, work together to defend their devices against a cyber attack.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Manali Badwe (left), a rising sophomore at Franklin Regional High School, and Radhika Jois (right), a rising senior at Hillsborough High School in New Jersey, work together to defend their devices against a cyber attack.
Students at the Pitt CyberCamp work together to prevent a simulated cyber attack.
Jamie Martines| Tribune-Review
Students at the Pitt CyberCamp work together to prevent a simulated cyber attack.

If Russia decides to launch a cyberattack on Pittsburgh this summer, even more students will be ready to fight back during Pitt Cyber's second CyberCamp.

In its second year at the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, the Air Force Association CyberCamp has grown, expanded and added programing.

The camp will host 250 students from high schools across Pennsylvania and beyond, up from 180 last year. To accommodate more students, Pitt partnered with Robert Morris University, where 70 of the 250 students will attend the weeklong camp.

Pitt Cyber added an advanced camp this year for returning students and will host a panel discussion on college admissions and careers in technology with representatives from Microsoft, PNC and the FBI. Microsoft has signed on as a sponsor of the camp.

“The demand for this camp is huge,” David Hickton, the founding director of Pitt Cyber, told the Tribune-Review.

Available spots for the free camp are taken, Hickton said Thursday. The advanced camp, open to students who participated in last year's camp or competed in a national cybersecurity competition, was the first to fill up. Hickton took that as an indication of how much students and parents value the camp.

The camp is again the only Air Force Association CyberCamp in Pennsylvania. Last year's camp drew students from more than 50 high schools, some from as far away as New Jersey and Delaware. The camp will run from July 23 to 27.

Students spend the week learning how to prevent, stop and play defense during a cyberattack. The camp ends with a competition in which teams have to fend off an attack. In last year's scenario, the teams served as cybersecurity experts for large corporations, earning points when they made a company's network more secure and losing points when they leave it vulnerable.

Hickton, who lead several high-profile prosecutions of cyber criminals as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has said that Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the top cybersecurity experts in the world. He said training the next generation of experts should start here.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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