Teenagers learn how to defend against cyber attacks

by Emily Sugarman

Published July 18, 2017

Unlike how most middle school and high school students would spend their free summer days, 39 outstanding students from 23 different schools learned about the exciting world of cybersecurity during a week-long camp at the University at Buffalo. 

Students participated in a variety of hands-on computer activities throughout the week to absorb a wide range of cybersecurity topics.

The campers had the rare opportunity to listen to enlightening, interactive presentations from highly respected leaders in the field of cybersecurity. Computer discipline officer Michael Behun from the UB Computing Center presented on the basics of online security and gave a demonstration on how smartphones can be hacked. He also discussed ways to protect these various online assets from viruses and malware.

Representatives from the FBI presented on the cybersecurity threat landscape, while UB’s Nils Napp, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, gave a presentation on robotics with entertaining demonstrations.

UB graduate students presented their own work and research, which included machine handwriting recognition and fingerprint identification. The campers engaged with the presenters’ software, bringing to light that experimenting and inventing is a real possibility for them, now and in the future. 

They visited CUBS (Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors) and the UB Nanosatellite lab to supplement their learning.

The campers' new, advanced knowledge prepared them for the final day of camp, during which they attempted to defend a network of computers from a simulated cyber attack. Each camper was gifted a Raspberry Pi to help further develop their enthusiasm for computer science and cybersecurity.

The UB Cybersecurity Camp was led by Laura Amo, visiting assistant professor, and David Murray, clinical associate professor, both from the School of Management, and Shambhu Upadhyaya, director of the Center of Excellence in Information Systems Assurance Research and Education (CEISARE) and a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

In addition, contributions from several local industries and organizations helped to make the event possible. These include Avarint, Astronics Corp., CUBRC, Geico, Microsoft, Trove Predictive Data Science and Yahoo!.

The camp was held on June 26-30, 2017.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

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