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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Crime

Adam Housley

Los Angeles, CA

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Training the next Cyber Warriors

March 26, 2010 - 11:03 AM | by: Adam Housley

On the day after President Obama’s Twitter account got hacked by a French man, thousands of miles away the next generation of Cyber Warriors are being trained at Cal Poly Pomona University in Southern California. It seems Francois, who calls himself a pirate not a hacker, had cracked Twitter’s administrator codes in April last year, which eventually allowed him to hack into the Presidential feed and those of other stars like Britney Spears. Here at Pomona, they hope the next generation of defenders to this type of attack are being identified and trained during the Collegiate Western Region Cyber Defense Competition beginning today.

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By some estimates we will need nearly 60,000 newly trained cyber defense warriors (as they are called), just in the next 3 years to help stop the threats to U.S. interests, companies and friends around the globe. That number is staggering when you realize that much of the hacking that exists today is unknown. For example, for every hacker like Francois who clearly wants to be known, there are hundreds who want to do just the opposite….they just want to sneak in, get the info and then sneak out……never detected.

As consumers we can actually help in this defense by keeping our own computers and networks up to date. By protecting ourselves, which can be as easy as using multiple passwords, we are in actuality protecting our country. Of course everything isn’t so easy, even with basic protections provided by consumers, companies, governments and interests are still massively vulnerable to attack and that’s where this competition and others like it come into play.

Really it’s all about staying ahead of the game….as the old saying goes….a good defense is a fantastic offense. Most cyber security folks will tell you there are two types of hackers, one who does it for fun and one who does it for profit. Both are costing Americans billions of dollars every year and pose a greater threat to U.S. security than traditional war. Countries like China and North Korea openly support hacking and hackers and are waging an all-out war against us as we speak…all the more reason to find the next best and brightest to protect us.

Boeing, Logic Security and a host of other companies support this competition and others like it. The Navy is also offering scholarships. It is quickly becoming a great place to start for graduating college and even high school kids on the cutting edge of technology and the quicker we find them and get them in place, the better for us and for our country.

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