Registration Opens for Girls' Free Cybersecurity Training

Girls in America are being invited to register for a free national cybersecurity training program that starts next year.

The 2020 Girls Go CyberStart challenge is being run in partnership with SANS Institute to encourage more young women to explore cybersecurity. The online training program is aimed at high school girls with the intention of encouraging them to consider a career in the increasingly understaffed cybersecurity industry. 

Girls Go CyberStart will set a series of challenges for girls who are aged 13 and over, in school grades 9 to 12. Areas in which the youngsters will be trained include cryptography, web vulnerabilities, open source intelligence gathering and computer forensics. 

The students will also be taught the basics of programming and have the chance to get to grips with the programming language Python and the Linux operating system.

The Girls Go CyberStart program was set up last year and so far, over 10,000 girls have participated. 

Although the learning unfolds through a series of games, girls who do well could be in with a chance to win a real-life scholarship from the program's organizers. Girls who won scholarships last year have gone on to secure internships in the cybersecurity industry. 

No prior experience in IT or cybersecurity is needed to participate and girls are invited to take part either from home or at school by joining a Girls Go Cyber Club. 

Play begins on January 13, 2020 but registration will stay open until the end of January.  

"Teamwork, persistence and determination are key," wrote the team behind the program on the girlsgocyberstart.org website, "Students who enjoy computing, STEM subjects or languages, plus students who love solving puzzles, often excel in this field. But so do people who prefer geography, history and drama."

Cybersecurity clubs in Utah, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Idaho, Illinois and other states and U.S. territories have already signed on to participate in the free program.

According to the program's live leaderboard, the state with the highest interest from educational establishments so far is Texas, where 60 different schools have registered to take part in the 2020 challenge.

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