Governor McAuliffe announces cybersecurity boot camp for Virginia educators

jamesmadisonlogopurplepcGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that 20 high school teachers from around Virginia will receive hands-on instruction in cutting-edge cybersecurity education tools and methods on July 27-31, 2015at James Madison University.

This boot camp is being conducted by the JMU Department of Computer Science with support from Palo Alto Networks through the Palo Alto Networks Academy program, which works with colleges and universities around the world to further the development of a cybersecurity curriculum for higher education. The instructors for the boot camp will be comprised of four JMU faculty members and three students from the College of Integrated Science and Engineering. The sessions will cover subjects such as cryptography, vulnerability scanning, web and database hacking, intrusions detection systems and malware defense. The focus of the boot camp is to give the teachers the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Cyber Defense and provide them with a complete set of course material (lecture slides, lab projects and tools) to take to their home institutions.

“Cybersecurity is a key component of the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In order to build the Commonwealth’s leadership in cybersecurity, we must be able to provide a cyber-capable workforce.   This cybersecurity boot camp is a prime example of the types of training opportunities we need to provide to our teachers so they can expand their knowledge base and encourage students to consider cybersecurity as a career option. Creating a connection between Virginia’s higher education and public education institutions will also help in this development.”

The boot camp keynote address will be given by Rick Howard, chief security officer at Palo Alto Networks and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Howard is responsible for Palo Alto Networks’ internal security program, oversight of the company’s Unit 42 threat intelligence team and participation in cyber security thought leadership initiatives. He has previously held senior roles in both the military and the private sector.

“This boot camp showcases JMU’s vision to be the engaged university and, by educating high school teachers, ensures hundreds of Virginia students are exposed to one of the most in-demand career fields,” said Dr. Yvonne Harris, vice provost of research and scholarship at JMU and part of the boot camp planning team.

After the boot camp, teachers will be encouraged to explore the information technology field further and give these resources to their students. JMU will also provide resources to interested teachers and students. “Programs such as the cybersecurity boot camp are essential to helping prepare our students to succeed in the new Virginia economy,” Secretary of Education Anne Holton said. “These 20 educators will be able to bring what they learn back to their schools, share it with their classes and help inspire students to pursue the kinds of careers that will form the cornerstone of the 21st century.”

“Building a pipeline of cybersecurity workers is imperative for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson.  “There is a substantial unmet need for cyber professionals, not just in Virginia, but also across the nation, and it is incumbent on us to provide every opportunity to promote cybersecurity careers to students.”

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