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WSC Members Mentor the Next Generation

Monday, November 19, 2012  
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McLean, VA - November 19, 2012

For five Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) members, November 15 was a rewarding day. These women shared their expertise with 400 Maryland middle school girls at CyberWatch’s Cool Careers in Cybersecurity for Girls Summit. The girls solved an identity theft crime by attending sessions and participating in hands-on activities where they gathered clues. Along the way they also learned about Cybersecurity career opportunities
from women currently working in the profession.

“The girls were excited to learn that being an ethical hacker or a penetration tester is a real job that you get paid for and there are women out there doing these jobs,” says Lisa
Foreman, WSC Founder and CEO. “It's important to expose girls early. Historically girls at this age are told computers are for boys and are ushered into more female-friendly
activities. I hope our participation in this event will change the course of the girls' lives into a path of Cybersecuirty. I wish there was something like this when I was coming up."

Foreman created a phishing attack demonstration at her table. “I cloned a Facebook site, set up a phishing email of a Facebook friend request, and sent the email to one of the girls. This demonstrated that clicking the link in the email would bring up the malicious Facebook page, capture their credentials and then pass them along to the real Facebook site. They were in awe to see that their username and password were visible to me,” she says.

According to IT consultant and WSC member Gail Schnell, “The girls were fascinated with computer forensics. They watch the show Criminal Minds and wanted to know whether the character Garcia is good or bad. I told them she now uses her knowledge for good.” An Army veteran, Schnell told the girls that working in Cybersecurity is another way to protect our country without putting on a uniform. “You’re still fighting the bad guys,” says Schnell. “And the work never ends. Every time you take a bad guy down, there’s another one waiting to step in.”

WSC member Stacey Banks, a consultant specializing in security policy and procedure, showed the girls how the different parts of a computer work together to the general reaction of, “Oh, so that’s how it works!” She is hopeful that some of these girls will enter the Cybersecurity field. Andreae Pohlman, an exploitations specialist, also reviewed parts of the computer, and was thrilled with the response. “It was such a rewarding experience, much more so than I anticipated. The girls were so intelligent and attentive. I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

This was the first time WSC members, who also included Michelle Jackson, participated in the Summit, but it won’t be the last. “It was an amazing event,” says Schnell. “It was the current generation of women in the field getting the next generation excited about the opportunities available.”

Other media coverage:
Gazette.net
ABC News 7:

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