US Girl Scouts Launch First National Cybersecurity Challenge

US Girl Scouts Launch First National Cybersecurity Challenge

Girls across the United States of America will take part in the country's first ever National Girl Scouts Cyber Challenge tomorrow. 

Over 3,000 girls have signed up to practice their cybersecurity skills by solving a hypothetical ransomware attack on a moon base. Participants will form an incident response team that must find out who hacked the system and how they did it.

The adrenaline-filled simulation will incorporate both “plugged” stations that will require the girls to utilize traditional coding and hacking skills on laptops and tablets, as well as “unplugged” stations where they must solve written codes. 

The exciting event will allow girls to gain first-hand experience of how coding and cybersecurity are applied in the real world. No prior cybersecurity experience is necessary to take part, as organizers hope to inspire girls who haven't ever tried their hand at cybersecurity to give it a go and see if they like it. 

The challenge is being piloted at participating councils in Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Texas, California, Arizona, Alabama, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Florida. If it proves successful, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) plans to roll the event out to all 111 of their councils.  

Presenting the challenge is US defense contractor Raytheon, which in November 2018 committed to a multi-year partnership with GSUSA to encourage girls to pursue computer science careers. Last year, with Raytheon's support, GSUSA launched its first ever national computer science program for middle and high school girls.

A spokesperson for Raytheon said: "Our future needs innovators, engineers and cybersecurity experts and we're finding them right here in today's Girl Scouts. They are cracking cyber challenges while fulfilling their potential. 

"Thanks to events like the Girl Scouts Cyber Challenge brought to you by Raytheon, more girls are seeing themselves as tomorrow’s innovators, engineers, cybersecurity experts and tech leaders."

A spokesperson for GSUSA said: "Raytheon is collaborating with Girl Scouts to help close the gender gap in STEM fields by helping prepare girls to pursue careers in fields like cybersecurity, computer science, artificial intelligence, and robotics. 

"Together, Raytheon and Girl Scouts are reaching girls during formative school years, where research shows peer pressure can sometimes deter girls from pursing their interest in STEM." 

Source: Information Security Magazine