U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) Soldiers joined the 2018 Quad Cities Cybersecurity Conference and Kids' Hacker Camp, better known as CornCon IV, September 6-8 at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa, to help raise security awareness in the community and introduce children and adults to cybersecurity as a career choice.
Cyber operations officers 1st Lt. Daniel Lim and 2nd Lt. Ken McGaffey brought a hands-on workshop to the event.
"We have been supporting ARCYBER talent management by conducting these types of workshops at different events that attract that high school students," said Lim. "We've presented at a variety of cyber awareness events including a Google workshop and DEFCON, one of the world's largest hacker conventions."
Having presented at CornCon III in 2017, the team was invited to return. About 30 teens and adults participated in this year's ARCYBER workshops, 20 of which were high school-age students, said Lim.
The workshop begins with some background about ARCYBER, the mission of defending Army networks, and offensive and defensive operations.
Then comes the hands-on keyboard workshop, which Lim described as "a cyber range in the cloud. This lets the kids hack at a computer system."
Then they switch sides and play a defender role.
When the workshop was complete, four interested students had an opportunity to meet with Jon Thompson, an ROTC scholarship and enrollment officer for the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
One of the major goals of the outreach effort is trying to get more people involved.
"We're trying to encourage the branch to do more outreach," said Lim. "Traditionally we send officers to the major universities. By reaching out to smaller schools, we're broadening the pool from which we can draw talent."
They also worked with a local junior ROTC program, which gives high school age students an opportunity to consider military occupation skill 17C, cyber operations specialist.
"We met several officers from Rock Island Arsenal," said Lim. "They were excited to have cyber folks [there] and get the word out to local Soldiers. We want the Army at large to better understand what we do in the Cyber Branch."