By Charles Leaver

Amid elevated threat landscape, camp is teaching kids to hack

Every business operating these days needs to place endpoint threat detection and response strategies at the top of its administrative priority list. The sheer number of malicious threats circulating the Internet means that every company is a potential victim, and a failure to defend properly against the reality of attack is tantamount to leaving the doors to your house open when a burglar is ransacking the neighborhood.

The cost of data breaches are mounting quickly on an international level, and the numbers are finally getting high enough that businesses around the world are beginning to seriously take note. According to a 2013 Ponemon study, the average data breach in the U.S. costs an enterprise $188 per individual record stolen. When you consider that the average number of breached records per incident in the U.S. stands at 28,765, that makes for an average recovery cost of more than $5.4 million.

Considering the sheer cost of recovery, it goes without saying that all businesses need to elevate their defensive infrastructure to stave off any potential attackers. One key element in doing this is to implement endpoint protection software, which works on its own to safeguard an enterprise system, actively searching for suspicious activity and providing tools that can play a pivotal role in reducing the potential attack surface for malicious breachers.

Fortunately, when it comes to cyber defenses, businesses have an additional resource to look forward to beyond endpoint protection: A cohort of young people being trained in the art of cybersecurity defense.

At a camp in San Diego, they’re playing Capture the Hacker instead of the flag
Ah, summer camp. A time for young people to unwind and enjoy time communing with the natural world. Well at least that’s most summer camps out there. But for a group of campers at a 5-day program run by an IT security firm in California, the objective of the week is a little bit different: Become skilled at recognizing and containing cyberthreats.

According to Voice of America News, the camp – which is compromised of 20 high school students who had to compete for entry- is centered around cultivating skillsets that can prove effective in fighting cybercrime. Rather than set up goal posts and get canoes ready, the camp’s counselors devise different networks that are then passed along to the campers to hack.

“They set networks and we can hack into the network, or we can hack into other people’s computers and then mess with them,” said one of the campers,” Chloe Chrisostomo,

It may at first sound counterintuitive that a camp aimed at fighting hackers has its attendees carry out hacks, but in fact that’s exactly what aspiring security defenders need to be able to do. If you don’t know how to play the hackers’ game, you won’t be able to win it. Or, as camper Jomarri Salomon put it,¬†“You have to know how a hacker attacks or how a hacker thinks to be able to defend against that kind of vulnerability.”

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