Instead of late night camp fires, some campers spent hours with their faces lit by laptops as they tried to fix lines of computer code to catch up on the day’s lessons.
Welcome to summer camp, NSA-style.
The spy agency was once so ultra-secret that old hands in national security still call them by the nickname No Such Agency.
Now, the National Security Agency is taking on a more public role trying to boost U.S. cybersecurity defenses.
The GenCyber camp at Dakota State University, one of 43 camps the agency sponsors around the country in conjunction with the National Science Foundation, is one small part of that effort.
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In a summer dominated by news of major cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management, the NSA is hoping to spot the next generation of white hat hackers and computer security whizzes.
The hope for the camps, NSA officials say, is to attract the interest of young people at a key point in their lives to consider pursuing cybersecurity careers. Young white hat hackers are prized by the NSA and private industry. If they don’t end up working for the NSA or other U.S. government agencies, perhaps they’ll work for big companies to help secure networks from criminals and foreign spies.