Computer Security Summer Camp Held at ESU

Posted by: jrivera on August 6, 2013, No Comments

Approximately 20 area high school students participated in a computer security summer camp on the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) campus July 15-16, 2013. The students participated in multiple activities designed to help pique their interest in computer security as a career.

The camp was held in ESU’s Warren E. ’55 and Sandra Hoeffner Science and Technology Center and was led by Michael Jochen, Ph.D., ESU associate professor of computer science, and N. Paul Schembari, Ph.D., professor of computer science.

Camp began with an overview of computer security careers. The attendees then viewed two different computer “hacks” and were told how this can be prevented. They learned about cryptography, a technology that helps protect electronic commerce. Campers also gained knowledge on how passwords are broken by hackers and how to create better ones.  While the students were learning this information, they were also configuring a set of computers in the ESU Computer Security Lab. Once the computers were set up, the students were able to work on an internal wireless network and see how wireless networks are found by hackers – a practice called “war-walking” or “war-driving.”

Another exercise for the campers involved cyber forensics – finding files that had already been deleted from their computers. They also learned how computer evidence is handled by law enforcement during an investigation. They studied “network sniffing,” which involves viewing network traffic in one of its most elementary formats. The camp ended with a presentation and hands-on exercises in breaking a weak form of wireless encryption which is used by many home networks. Again, the campers learned both the methods of the attackers and ways to defend against the attacks.

“We’ve always had a great time at the camp with these young students who are just learning computer security,” said Dr. Schembari, ESU computer security program director. “It’s a wonderful experience to give them some knowledge in areas outside of the standard high school curriculum, and they really seem to enjoy the event.”

“We’ve been able to use our research in areas like cyber forensics and bring this knowledge to ESU students in our regular classes as well as high school students at the camp,” said Dr. Jochen, who is the coordinator for the ESU master’s program in information security. “It’s a benefit to all involved.”

The camp has received very favorable reviews from the attendees. Amanda Sumner, a parent of one of the campers said, “My son was in the computer security camp and came home on fire to learn more about computer security.”

The ESU Computer Science Department has helped to host the annual camp since 2004. In years past, this camp was designed by ESU, Northampton Community College, and Monroe Career and Technical Institute, but this year, ESU did it alone. Funding for the camp has been received each year from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Two undergraduate degree programs are offered by the ESU Department of Computer Science: a bachelor of science in computer science and a bachelor of science in computer security. A minor in computer science applications is also offered as well as a master of science in computer science and a master of science in information security.

For more information, contact the ESU Computer Science Department at 570-422-3666.