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Cyber camp arms students with crime-fighting tools

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cyber-crime is now the fastest rising crime in America.

As a result of the growing cyber threat, there is a also a greater demand for professionals who work to prevent cyber-crime.

During the first week of August, 100 of these budding professionals attended Cyber Camp at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (JSRCC), where they participated in a range of classes covering cyber security topics, in addition to job fairs and discussions with professionals in the field.

The local camp was the largest of five week-long Cyber Camps across the country with the purpose of training future professionals in cyber security.

To be invited to the week-long Cyber Camp, college students had to participate in tests known as Cyber Quests held in April. The test is hosted by the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a program with a mission of “identifying and recruiting the next generation of cyber security professionals.” The students with the highest scores were invited to camps in states across the nation during the months of July and August.

Kristopher Cox, security information Officer at JSRCC, began laying the groundwork a year ago for Virginia to host a Cyber Camp.

“I was at a SANS [security training] conference last year and a colleague of mine asked if I wanted to be a mentor at one of the Cyber Camps,” said Cox. “I told him I wanted to start a Virginia camp.

“I really wanted JSRCC to be a part of this,” said Cox. “I knew how vested Virginia is in cyber-crime prevention and I knew it would bring a lot to the community. JSRCC wants to bring cyber-crime awareness to everyone.”

Rudy Pamintuan, a volunteer with the U.S. Cyber Challenge, works to create ways to bring students to the challenge.

“This opportunity will help them grow and find new career paths. Companies come to this camp during job fairs to hire people out of the U.S. Cyber Challenge. It is giving people a safe place to do what they do best, which is virtually attack things,” said Pamintuan.

The camp not only provides employment opportunities from some of the industry’s leading employers, but also provides an intensive curriculum with expert teachers in the field of cyber security.

Carrie Schaper, a graduate student at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is a first-time camper at a Cyber Camp. “This camp compresses week-long courses in a day,” said Schaper. “We are developing an expertise through the intense curriculum and the knowledgeable teachers who work in the field.”

On Tuesday of the week-long camp, the students participated in an executive roundtable discussion and question-and-answer session with speakers that included Virginia Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey and several CEO’s of companies that offer cyber security, such as Ernest McDuffie of the National Institute for Cyber Security Education (NICE), David Tobey of the National Board of Information Security Examiners (NBISE), and Charlie Croom, VP of Cyber Solutions for Lockheed Martin.

The discussion was centered around the profession of cyber security, highlighting topics such as how to be trained, how to find jobs, and how to work with academia to develop curricula and standards for cyber-crime prevention education.

“This camp has given everyone here an opportunity for free, because SANS training is very expensive,” Schaper said. “We are receiving hands-on, practical knowledge by experts in the field which is hard to come by. This camp is giving us experience above and beyond what most people get.”

Doug Logan is a former camper and challenge winner from New York who participated this year as a teacher’s assistant at the Missouri camp during the week of July 25, and also at Virginia’s camp at JSRCC in August.

“I learned so much from first being a camper and being involved in the Cyber Camp,” said Logan. “It helped jump-start the amount of knowledge I learned. It is consolidated and detailed, and it is a great opportunity to be exposed to different types of security and give you a base knowledge in different areas.”

On Friday, the final day of the camp, attendees participated in a virtual “capture-the-flag” competition in which the team of five winning students received $1,000 scholarships.

“Many students don’t know that they have this opportunity,” said Cox. “The camp opens these students up to employers and also networking with others to gain valuable scholarships.

“Cyber-crime is rising so quickly,” added Cox. “If we are prepared, we have the power to catch people that are damaging others through cyber-crimes.

“By training these young people, we are being proactive and preventing these sorts of things from happening.”


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold two Community Conversations meetings to discuss with residents Henrico County’s budget and crime prevention efforts in Varina. The meetings will be held… Full text

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