VMI hosts cybersecurity workshop

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Military Institute is holding its first CyberSmart Workshop, inviting area high school students to learn more about computer and internet security.

There were talks, but mostly it was hands-on.

“They were actually able to see what’s going on in offensive cyber,” said CyDef Lab Cybersecurity Scientist David Jones, “and we brought that forward so they could think of defensive cyber.”

Like searching open social media about their instructor.

“And it was very surprising what they found out about me,” Jones said. “I was very impressed. My entire employment history, my wife, my father, my cousin, my companies, my addresses, all of the emails I’ve really ever used. It was really incredible, and I’m not on social media except for LinkedIn. So that was pretty impressive.”

“So we can, we already have a foundation that you can say: you know what this is,” said VMI Cadet John Barker, “but now let’s go build on this with what cybersecurity is and how to protect yourselves and how to protect others, and not break laws.”

VMI Cadets like Barker offered help, while the high schoolers worked out practical challenges with computers and devices, like this exercise on the internet of things.

“This is entirely focused on cybersecurity,” said Barker. “Not just technically, right, but also people because people are still going to be involved in an organization.”

And though it’s the first year, with a limited reach, they’re hoping to expand.

“We want the entire Shenandoah Valley to come here,” Jones said.

“Cybersecurity – everyone has to think about it,” said Barker. “And so even if you’re not going to go into the cybersecurity field, it’s something you should think about.”

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