Evolving Security Experts Among Teenagers

Conference:  BlackHat EU 2018



The presentation discusses the need to expose more teenagers, particularly middle school girls, to cybersecurity education and the importance of cooperation between industry and community to address the workforce shortage. It also highlights various initiatives and competitions in Israel that encourage excellence and provide opportunities for teenagers to develop their skills in cybersecurity.
  • The most suitable stage for cybersecurity education is in middle school
  • A full package education system in cybersecurity for teenagers is necessary to address the workforce shortage
  • Cooperation between industry and community is key to achieving this goal
  • Initiatives in Israel, such as Cyber Girls and Correct My Minute, focus on encouraging girls to pursue science and technology
  • Competitions in Israel, such as Kagu and Skills Coding, provide opportunities for teenagers to develop their skills in cybersecurity
  • Real-world projects, mentoring, and internships in high-tech companies can help teenagers develop their skills in cybersecurity
The presentation mentions a project conducted by 14 and 15-year-old kids who created a CFGa code-wall flow graph in Linux from binary files with no source code. They disassembled the binary files, identified basic blocks, and created a visualization of the application to identify parts of the application based on previous analysis, such as encryption methods and sorting algorithms.


By 2020, the estimated shortfall in the security workforce will reach 1.5 million people (https://bit.ly/2GO6Ov0). Moreover, in today's world, there are so many security challenges facing us due to the evolving computers era, startups, and large companies needing talented employees. Thus, we are lacking both in quality and quantity. Additionally, these people are harder to recruit and maintain. The utopia is finding those that work hard, are innovative, creative and keep on learning. Sound like a tough mission to find. So how can we create them? If we could only teach teenagers technical computer skills like (but not limited): networking, operating systems internals, programming languages, and the security implications of writing vulnerable code. If we could only afterward let them solve CTFs, and then mentor other teenagers about the same things they have just learned and, based on that, think about new ways to protect/attack our systems. Only then, we could really create the next generation of those talented people that the industry so eager to find.In this talk, we will present a new approach to education in the field of cybersecurity, and demonstrate it by using a case in Israel. We will explain in detail how to build a framework (leveraging different pedagogical paradigms) of programs and groups, with the support of government, industry, and community, all for the sole purpose of creating a new generation of experts inventing the next big thing.