An old adage goes: “Do you want to learn cybersecurity? Then start playing ”. And so, while a piece of Italy stood with bated breath from the threatened Russian attacks, the aspiring Italian hackers were preparing to defend the country, but for fun.
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From 27 to 29 May, as well one hundred and fifty students and students summoned by the Cini National Cybersecurity Laboratory met in Turin at the Turin Campus of the World Labor Organization for three days of events and initiatives focused on cybersecurity, all under the banner of skill competitions and team games.
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The games, dedicated to young people in high school, they involve the ability to overcome logical problems and cyber defenses in tenders involving the web, cryptography and communication systems. The recruitment was so broad and the organization so branched that they called them OliCyber, the Italian Cybersecurity Olympics, with the National Cybersecurity Agency sponsoring the competition.
At the end of the games the first place was the very young Tito Sacchi of the State Scientific High School “T.Taramelli” of Pavia but Carlo Collodel, Simone Petroni, Domingo Dirutigliano and Luigi Loffredo were also awarded gold and 10 silver and 25 bronze medals were also awarded. The ceremony was attended by the general manager of the National Cybersecurity Agency, Roberto Baldoni, who reiterated the importance of training, also at the center of the National Cybersecurity Strategy presented in recent days.
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The initiative, now in its second edition, started from afar and lasted for several months, involving over three hundred Italian institutes and more than 1,700 aspiring ethical hackers, who had the opportunity to train together with expert teachers on increasingly central topics. both in everyday life and in the world of work. During the training period, young people were confronted with practical challenges and simulations of the real problems of computer security also led by TeamItaly, the Italian National Cyberdefender, and by some of the best participants in the previous editions of CyberChallenge.IT, the school for ethical hackers of the National Cybersecurity Laboratory. At the heart of the cryptography, reverse engineering, network security and infrastructure security challenges.
The girls in the center
But this time it wasn’t just kids. At the Ilo in Turin there were also 50 girls who participated for two days in Cybertrials, innovative competitions to test relational, diplomatic and linguistic softskills as well as to test their problem solving skills within a “escape room”, one of those games where, locked in a room, you can only go out if you solve all the quizzes you find inside. They too have all been awarded. The participants came from the first edition of Cybertrials, a training program that involved over 380 girls from 74 different institutions in challenging each other in a masterless role-playing game created for them by the IMT of Lucca.
“The high number of participants in Cybertrials demonstrates how much girls are also interested in cybersecurity issues and can be involved, through gaming, in paths of awareness like this one ”- said Cybertrials coordinator Sonia Montegiove. “We believe that the gender gap existing today in ICT and cybersecurity can be reduced also thanks to initiatives like these”.
In fact, the objectives of the initiative are aimed precisely at stimulating interest in technical-scientific subjects by breaking down the gender barriers in the subjects Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); train girls in the basic knowledge of digital security, with attention tohacker ethics; raise awareness of the growing professional opportunities offered by training courses on IT security; and finally strengthen the skills necessary to face the risks associated with the use of social networks, data processing and online scams.
“A gift, the presence in Turin of all these boys and girls” said Paolo Prinetto, director of the National Cybersecurity Laboratory who is already working on new initiatives “to promote the culture of cybersecurity “also aimed at accompanying teachers, among the main protagonists of these events.