A group of cyber savvy high school students recently traveled cross-country to participate in a Washington-based cyber defense competition, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The CyberPatriot National High School Cyber Defense Competition challenged students to defend computer networks from hackers hoping to gain access to sensitive information.
Eleven teams manged virtual databases and operating systems similar to a company structure, earning points through reducing network vulnerabilities and defending networks from attacks
The winning team received laptops, scholarship money, a dinner with President Obama and the attention of Northrop Grumman Corp.
Diane Miller, director of operations for Northrop’s cybersecurity group, said the program can be a method to find, train and build a cyber defense workforce.
The company vets students at the competition to fill its summer intern programs and to be on-call during holidays.
The company wants to fill 30 positions this year, the report said.
Miller said it is important to have people who understand he business and are capable of dealing with current and evolving threats.
Brig. Gen. Bernard Skoch, commissioner of the Air Force Association, said the U.S. needs cyber defenders to guard national banks, power grid assets and water systems.