City high school students test their cyber security savvy in first-ever challenge

Originally posted: October 28, 2022

A renowned hacker is about to breach your company’s data, shutting down your network systems and sharing your private information with the world. Only you can prevent it.

This fictional cyber catastrophe was the task at hand for dozens of high school students who participated in the first-ever Explore Cyber Security – Youth Competition. Hosted by CyberWave at MITT, this one-day event was part interactive learning and part competitive threat scenario exercises.

Shelby Gulbinski, a grade 8 student at Richer School, enrolled in the cyber challenge because she’s interested in the field. She said, “I really like that my generation is able to do different jobs than past generations. I want to work with technology and make money in the future. Cyber security seems like that opportunity.”

Teams of students aged 12 to 15 partnered with cyber security mentors at PTEC (Pembina Trails Early College) to defend a corporate server against a fictitious cyber attack. Working in real-time, students established passwords, ensured verified user file access, scanned the network for suspicious users, and removed potential hackers. Once they completed their simulations, industry professionals provided recommendations on how a security professional would handle this type of attack.

Jennifer Logan, Youth Program Coordinator for CyberWave, said the only requirements are an interest in cyber security and a familiarity with computers. Logan commented, “This is a hands-on event for all high school level students to experience what it’s like to work in one of Canada’s fastest growing professions as well as gain insights into the range of available career opportunities.”

A recent report by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) shows Canada currently has a demand for approximately 25,000 cybersecurity practitioners, including nearly 1,000 openings in Manitoba.

Mark Gaudet, Vice-President of Simulation Technologies at Canadian software company Field Effect, is provided the Cyber Range threat simulation platform via their partnership with CyberWave. He said, “With the Cyber Range at CyberWave, students can experience what it is like to be a cyber security professional by investigating a realistic cyber-attack. With capacity expanding in college and university cyber security programs, fun competitions like these are critical to making students aware of cyber security as a career opportunity.”

Learn more about CyberWave by visiting their website.

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