Aspiring cyberwizards explore the “Internet of Things” at Capitol event
An enthusiastic group of young people got first-hand experience with the Internet of Things (IoT) on Saturday (April 16) as they used a Raspberry Pi to remotely control devices such as radios and lamps.
Meanwhile, others sought to knock each other off Linux systems in a challenging game of virtual “King of the Hill.”
The activities were part of a Cyber Saturday event at Capitol Technology University. Since 2012, the Cyber Saturday program has drawn hundreds of high school and community colleges to campus and introduced them to basic cybersecurity skills and principles in a fun atmosphere.
“Cyber Saturday is an ongoing series of events where we invite students to come and see focused demos of different technologies that they would find neat and fun,” said Rick Hansen, a Capitol professor and coach of the university’s cyber competition team. “In this case, the Internet of Things is an up and coming topic everywhere, so we decided to create some demos for that. We purchased a small Raspberry Pi, which is a computer that for around $40 does more than your desktop did 15 years ago."
"We used it during the event to teach Linux, and we had participants using it to turn devices on and off, to control lights and radios over the internet.”
Tyrell Williams, a junior in cybersecurity and member of the cyber competition team, helped organize and run the King of the Hill game.
“This involved everyone logging on via SSH and then trying to knock each other off,” he explained. “The cool thing is that, although it’s a game, you learn a lot from it. You’re asking yourself ‘how do I stay on the machine?’ And in order to stay on you have to learn the machine – learn the basic commands, how to navigate the file system, how to see who is logged in, what a process ID is, how to tell which IP address is yours and which belongs to someone else,” Williams explained.
Players also learned what can happen when the wrong commands are entered or other mistakes made, he noted. Some moved against other players on the virtual “Hill” – only to discover that they had kicked themselves off instead.
While some participants were just getting introduced to the world of cyber, others have long-term plans to undertake a degree in the field. For them, the event provided a window into one of the top regional institutions offering cybersecurity programs.
Andrew Valliere (top right), a student at Howard Community College, was among those attending the Saturday event. He said it gave him a chance to see what kinds of resources are available at Capitol, in the event he decides to transfer.
“After I’m finished at HCC, I plan to attend a cybersecurity school, or one where I can major in cybersecurity, computer science or a related field,” he said. “I’m evaluating the different programs out there and seeing which ones I Iike best.”
Cyber Saturday provided a chance to “learn more about Capitol’s program, and what it offers that’s different from all the other programs out there,” Valliere said.