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Wanted: Young Cyberexperts to Defend Internet

By USA Today

June 21, 2010

The federal government, education officials and giant military contractors are collaborating to recruit a new class of tech professional specifically trained to battle data thieves, online scammers and cyberspies.

The recruitment tool of choice: competitions that pit tech-savvy youths in mock warfare against professional hackers. This year, the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition drew teams from 83 colleges and universities, up from five schools in 2005. Boeing hired seven contestants to help defend its internal networks, which are prime targets for corporate and military spies.

"Our goal is to increase the opportunities for young cyberexperts to exercise and demonstrate their passion for this career field," says Alan Greenberg, Boeing's technical director of cyber and information solutions.

A similar contest that accepts high schoolers, the US Cyber Challenge, has a goal of finding 10,000 "cybersecurity top guns." Promotional materials tout bragging rights for beating bad guys. "We're building the pipeline that will produce our future cyberguardians," says Alan Paller, research director of SANS Institute, a co-sponsor of the event.

From USA Today
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