Getting the Next Generation Interested in Cybersecurity

I recently volunteered to teach a TechGirlz workshop in Philadelphia as part of National Cybersecurity Month. TechGirlz is a nonprofit organization that is focused on encouraging middle-school age girls to become interested in technology and tech careers.

John Cusimano teaching a TechGirlz class.

John Cusimano teaching a TechGirlz workshop.

The topic was “How Computers Talk”. In about three hours the girls were introduced to the basics of computer networking. Topics included network protocols, OSI model, IP addressing, switching & routing, and network security.

PowerPoint slides and a number of instructional videos were used to deliver the training.

The girls completed a variety of exercises using their own laptops to apply their new skills. They ran applications such as Nmap and WireShark from USB sticks donated by aeSolutions (virus scanned, of course!) to discover services running on other computers and to visualize network traffic. I demonstrated how it is possible using basic tools to capture network traffic and extract information such as usernames, passwords (if not encrypted), and visited web pages.

The girls were engaged and really picked up a lot of the concepts presented. If you have a desire to pass on knowledge you have accumulated or just want to help the next generation become interested in technology take some time to check out the TechGirlz website for Upcoming Events in your area.

TechGirls shows girls that there is more to tech careers than "just coding."

TechGirlz shows girls that there is more to tech careers than “just coding.”

TechGirlz is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations, by focusing on girls at the crucial middle school age.

TechGirlz is dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations focused on middle school age girls.