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"The New Yorker" featured Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot in "A Summer Camp for the Next Generation of N.S.A. Agents"

08/16/2019

"The New Yorker" featured Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot in "A Summer Camp for the Next Generation of N.S.A. Agents"

...On the last Monday in July, as news broke that a hundred million Capital One bank accounts had been breached, I attended Camp CryptoBot, at Pace University’s Westchester campus, the only cyber camp affiliated with the Navy. A few years ago, the camp director, Pauline Mosley, a professor of information technology, found herself sitting next to an admiral at a conference and used the opportunity to deploy her pre-digital networking skills.

Camp CryptoBot, like all N.S.A. cyber camps, is funded jointly by the N.S.A. and the National Science Foundation, and is free to participants. It attracts students from Westchester’s wealthy communities and from districts that are hurting, homeschooled students and others from parochial schools. There are also students with special needs. Mosley, who is African-American, is particularly focussed on bringing girls, especially girls of color, to the camp. She sits on the boards of G.O.O.D. for Girls, and has done outreach with Girls Inc. and Latino U College Access. “I align myself with organizations that appeal to young women,” she told me. “We have to educate women that cybersecurity is not a man’s domain.” Almost all the camp instructors were women; many of them were women of color.

“What’s the password?” John Sarlo, a retired science teacher, asked at the door to the Stephen J. Friedman multipurpose room, in Wilcox Hall. (The answer was the name of the campers’ high school; thirty-one schools, most from the tri-state region, were represented.) In a goofy nod to the camp’s benefactor, students were offered black fedoras, dark glasses, and cardboard briefcases stamped with the words “Top Secret.” Inside was a blank index card, two poker chips, two pens, a card game called Cyber Realm, a number of popular—if inscrutable—ciphers to decode encrypted messages, and a laminated card that had encoded the phrase “the quick brown fox” to read “uif rvjdi cspxo gpy.” Campers would soon have the opportunity to use one of the ciphers to figure out which of four groups they’d been assigned to—Hawks, Eagles, Ravens, Falcons—and another one to decode the tasks required to solve a hacking mystery.

Just after nine, two Navy officers, in dress whites, interrupted an awkward game of Simon Says (Simon was a former vice-president of security and risk management for MasterCard) and announced that the school had been hacked. “Your assignment,” they said, “is to find who did this.” To unmask the hacker, the students would have to build two remotely operated underwater vehicles; they would use one, outfitted with a camera, to view coded messages submerged in the college pool, and use the other to retrieve those messages in sequential order, decrypt them, and launch a drone to find more encrypted messages, and then identify the hackers and take down their network. The naval officers were on hand, in part, to help the teams construct the underwater vehicles, called SeaPerches, which were developed by the Office of Naval Research and M.I.T. to encourage young Americans to become engineers. In the world of professional cybersecurity, it typically takes about a hundred and ninety-six days to identify a breach, and then another sixty-nine to contain it; the campers had four days. In undertaking the task, Petty Officer James Fields, a twelve-year naval-operations specialist, said, “You will learn how to protect yourself and your country.”

A hundred and fifty-three students applied for the Pace camp. There would have been more applicants, but, with only fifty open slots, Mosley did not want to have to send out more rejection letters than necessary, so she shut down the application process. “The criterion is first come, first served,” she said. “It’s not about G.P.A. or honors classes. Not every school has those. It’s really about: How interested are you? We’ve got to spend our money wisely.” The maximum N.S.A. GenCyber grant is a hundred thousand dollars. The Pace camp gets significantly less than that—about sixty-seven thousand dollars.

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"The Examiner" featured Seidenberg's Camp CryptoBot in "Pace's Cybersecurity Camp Inspires Next Generation"

08/14/2019

"The Examiner" featured Seidenberg's Camp CryptoBot in "Pace's Cybersecurity Camp Inspires Next Generation"

Utilizing underwater robots, aerial drones and cutting-edge coding techniques, 50 high school students from throughout the region have gained hands-on cybersecurity experience as part of Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot.

Inspired by a mission to motivate younger students to pursue cybersecurity – especially women and those from underserved areas – the camp is supported by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation as part of the national GenCyber program. Earlier in July, Pace University also hosted a two-week cybersecurity workshop for teachers to help facilitate the integration of cybersecurity concepts into lessons and after-school activities.

“Pace University’s commitment to cybersecurity education benefits the whole nation. Everything we do today has a cybersecurity component to it,” said NSA National Cryptologic School Commandant Diane M. Janosek. “GenCyber gives students the opportunity to learn about the role cybersecurity plays in their daily lives and encourages them to consider working in this field.”

“By 2020, it’s estimated that up to 2 million unfilled cybersecurity positions will exist in the United States. From national security to personal privacy, this shortage poses a critical threat to our society – but also an opportunity for students,” said Professor Pauline Mosley, who spearheaded the camp on behalf of Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Pace University is committed to closing that gap by inspiring younger students to pursue cybersecurity and by equipping teachers with the resources they need to incorporate these lessons.” 

In addition to hands-on labs, Camp CryptoBot also taught students to understand safe online behavior and how ethics applies to cybersecurity. The five-day camp was free for all accepted students, including free breakfast and lunch.

Fourteen-year-old Nickole Leite, who attends Yonkers Middle/High School, said that although things like cipher codes are complicated at first, once you get to know them each becomes simplified and very secretive – something she’s been drawn to since she was a young child.

“When I was little I used to read a lot of mystery books, so learning about different kinds of codes before decrypting and encrypting them is like something out of a movie,” Leite said. “To know it’s real life and I know how to do this is amazing!”

Sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, GenCyber offers summer cybersecurity camps free-of-cost to students and teachers in grades K-12.  Since 2014, more than 12,000 students and 3,000 teachers have attended GenCyber camps. In 2019, 122 GenCyber camps will be held at 76 institutions across 38 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, reaching more than 3,000 students and 800 teachers.

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"Yonkers Rising" featured Pace University's Camp CryptoBot in "Pace's Cybersecurity Camp Inspires Next Generation"

08/14/2019

"Yonkers Rising" featured Pace University's Camp CryptoBot in "Pace's Cybersecurity Camp Inspires Next Generation"

Utilizing underwater robots, aerial drones and cutting-edge coding techniques, 50 high school students from throughout the region have gained hands-on cybersecurity experience as part of Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot.

Inspired by a mission to motivate younger students to pursue cybersecurity – especially women and those from underserved areas – the camp is supported by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation as part of the national GenCyber program. Earlier in July, Pace University also hosted a two-week cybersecurity workshop for teachers to help facilitate the integration of cybersecurity concepts into lessons and after-school activities.

“Pace University’s commitment to cybersecurity education benefits the whole nation. Everything we do today has a cybersecurity component to it,” said NSA National Cryptologic School Commandant Diane M. Janosek. “GenCyber gives students the opportunity to learn about the role cybersecurity plays in their daily lives and encourages them to consider working in this field.”

“By 2020, it’s estimated that up to 2 million unfilled cybersecurity positions will exist in the United States. From national security to personal privacy, this shortage poses a critical threat to our society – but also an opportunity for students,” said Professor Pauline Mosley, who spearheaded the camp on behalf of Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Pace University is committed to closing that gap by inspiring younger students to pursue cybersecurity and by equipping teachers with the resources they need to incorporate these lessons.” 

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"FiOS1" featured Pace University's Camp Cryptobot in "Teaching Teens Cybersecurity"

08/07/2019

"FiOS1" featured Pace University's Camp Cryptobot in "Teaching Teens Cybersecurity"

Teaching cybersecurity concepts to teens. Students got a hands on experience with drones and other robotics at Pace University. This is part of a five day program called, Camp Cryptobot. Organizers say this is a fun way to give young people a foundation in complicated cybersecurity concepts, and teach them safe online behavior. I really liked flying the drones, I thought that those were really fun. I was able to really do what I wanted. The camp is sponsored by the n-s-a and the national science foundation. Pace says this is expected to be a rapidly growing field.

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Press Release: Pace Hosts Cybersecurity Camp for High School Students

08/07/2018

Press Release: Pace Hosts Cybersecurity Camp for High School Students

Training to promote STEM careers with emphasis on women and minorities

Elizabeth McDowell, a 10th grader from Hendrick Hudson High School, said she was initially uncertain about attending last week’s Camp CryptoBot at Pace University, but by the time she left she was so excited about what she had learned that she planned to sign up for an engineering course at her high school in the fall.

Pauline Mosley, DPS, Principal Investigator and Camp Director for Camp CryptoBot, said McDowell’s story illustrates exactly what she had in mind when she wrote the grant to obtain funding for the camp from CyberGen, an outreach program funded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This is the second year that Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems has held the week-long training camp teaching the basics of cybersecurity to high school students. This year, 33 students from around the tri-state area participated in the program from July 30 - August 3.

“We were thrilled to again be able to offer this free, one-week interactive and mission-driven camp to high school students in the New York Metropolitan area,” said Mosley, Professor of Information Technology at Pace. “We want to engage and excite students and we hope they will come away from this experience wanting to learn more. Not only is our goal to attract young people to careers in cybersecurity, but we hope to increase the numbers of women and minorities who pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.”

Last week, students from 28 high schools in five states learned cybersecurity concepts at the Seidenberg School. As part of a robot building and intelligence gathering exercise, they built cyber-bots that were launched in the pool at Pace’s Goldstein Health and Fitness Center as part of a challenge called SeaPerch, a phrased coined by the U.S. Navy. Students programmed and operated underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to carry out a simulated scenario. They conducted similar exercises with drones and also were addressed by a Navy Outreach Officer during the camp.

The United States Navy is a major partner in this grant and provides U.S. Navy personnel including a Chief and Petty Officers to assist in the engineering and soldering aspects of the water robots. CISCO, a sponsor of the grant, provides gifts for the campers as well as a keynote cybersecurity expert at the closing ceremony. Pace, a CISCO Networking Academy Center, provides campers with the opportunity to continue their learning of cybersecurity by completing an online CISCO course and earning a certificate of completion at the end.

Professor Mosely thanked the other faculty and team members who made the camp possible: Professor of Information Technology Li-Chiou Chen, Ph.D., Camp Instructor Matt Ganis, Ph.D., John Sarlo, Dawn Tucker, Jill Olimpieri and Sarah Russel, as well as Pace student group leaders Vincent Gomez, Cheyenne Mascaro, Muhammad Hamza Wajid and Frank Coloccia, Jr.

Earlier in July, Pace hosted a similar camp for 24 high school teachers from 11 states who learned how to include cybersecurity in classroom curriculum.

About Pace University: Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in Lower Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y., enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Pace has been a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security since 2004. www.pace.edu

About The Seidenberg School: The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University prepares men and women for professional work, research, and lifelong participation in a new and dynamic information age. Located in the financial capital of the world, the Seidenberg School offers a wide variety of courses and exposure to internships and work with leading corporations, banks, federal agencies, and global entities. Degrees and certificates are conveniently available on Pace’s campuses in New York City and Westchester County as well as online and in special programs. Visit the Seidenberg School of CSIS website/.