Cyber safety boot camp

Third-party programs that may lead to “back door” intrusions. Differences between Windows and Mac operating systems. Good advice about ways to safeguard personal identifier information online. Social media tips.

Those were among the questions and topics aired Monday during the first day of the first-ever Cybersecurity Summer Camp, a weeklong program for Solano-area high schoolers, at Solano Community College in Fairfield.

Some 20 students signed up for the free weeklong program, but only 16, all of them boys, showed up in the morning in Room 503 inside the campus administration building at the Suisun Valley Road campus.

Continuing to Friday, the camp, part of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program, was created by the Air Force Association in 2009, with the purpose of teaching teenagers how to be safe online and possibly spark interest in a future cybersecurity career in the age of high-profile computer hacking and cyber strikes. They include the first such cyber strike, the Stuxnet worm, which entered Iran’s nuclear facilities through hacked suppliers in 2010, and others, notably 40 million people who were affected by a hack that stole credit and debit card data from Target stores on or before Dec. 22, 2013; and, more recently, what American intelligence officials say were Russian state actors who electronically meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

In a new world of cyber warfare and crime, governments, corporations and individuals are increasingly forced to secure their sensitive data, and cybersecurity skills are becoming a valuable self-marketing tool, said Richard Grotegut, a camp facilitator who launched a pilot program in Livermore last summer and this year established cybercamps at 12 colleges in the greater Bay Area.

“There’s a big need for cybersecurity professionals that we cannot fill — not just here, but nationwide,” he said in a press release…

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