For the last nine years, Wilmington University has hosted an annual United States Cyber Challenge (USCC) summer camp, immersing dozens of students in week-long program with an intense curriculum focused on cybersecurity.

On Friday, 2018’s camp graduated over 40 students–some from Delaware, some from across the globe, as far away as South Korea, South Africa, and China.

Governor John Carney was one of the impressive speakers at the camps graduation. He said cyber security is a big deal and affects the nation on many levels.

“People’s data security is at risk, we have seen data breaches with commercial institutions, retail establishments over the last several years, so it is a real privacy concern,” said Carney. “There are cyberthreats in the military arranged as well.”

The camp educates, recruits, and informs the next generation by teaching them crucial skills which will help them one day be the country’s first line of cybersecurity.

“This is a really important camp to develop a workforce that we need to be successful in combating that kind of a threat,” said Carney.

According to the FBI, cybercrime is the third-greatest threat to U.S. national security, after nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction.

Congresswomen Lisa Blunt Rochester spoke to this year’s graduating class, instilling in them that this is not just a summer camp, but a way to take down the bad guys.

“In the Marvel comics it is usually ordinary people doing extraordinary things and right now the training that they just received are in areas that will help us with terrorism, its area that will help us with our personal private data our health care,” said Rochester. “I wanted them to understand the significance of this training that they are getting. They might feel like an ordinary person, but really the work that they are doing and help and save us all.”

The US Department of Homeland Security estimates the cost of cyber crime is $400 billion a year, and by 2022, there will be 1.8 million open jobs in cybersecurity–big business. With the average age of cyber professionals being 42, this camp does the following:

  • Developed student skills to help fill the ranks of cyber security professionals in and outside of government
  • Shortages of qualified cyber security personnel extend from the government to the U.S. defense industrial base, information systems contractors, utilities, telecommunications companies and most other segments of the critical infrastructure
  • The camp gives students in Delaware the chance to receive training from world class cyber security experts, practice their new skills, and inform them of educational and employment opportunities
  • Identify and nurture America top young people destined for careers in cyber security.

Krystian Bates, Patrick Mahoney, Alex Reuben and Hannah Tattan were this year’s camp scholarship recipients. Each student received a $2,500 award—a thousand to go towards IC-squared classes and the rest for schooling.

Bates is from Delaware and was one of this year’s graduates. He was first introduced to cybersecurity through his dad, who teaches ethical hacking and information security at Delaware Technical Community College.

“[The camp] taught me things that I could use later on, hopefully in the military, such as Computer forensics and ethical hacking,” said Bates.

Mahoney is originally from California and has been living in Delaware for the last six years. He is stationed here with the military and said he has always been a computer nerd. One thing that he learned from the camp was how vulnerable a computer really is.

“The fact that you can do so much harm without physically being at your target is pretty insane to me,” said Mahoney. “[Cyber security] isn’t for everyone but if you like tinkering with things, especially math, then you should give it a try.”

Published Jul 27, 2018