Ethical hacking and cyber security caught the eye of Year 8 girls at the EmPowerCyber event at St James’ Park.
Twenty-one girls from Year 8 joined 300 others from across the North East to attend the event in November, which aimed to inspire girls to consider future careers in cyber security and technology.
There was a wide variety of businesses and organisations running interactive activities. It was a fascinating event, and the girls were especially enthused by those activities that involved code breaking and ethical hacking. “We got to ‘hack’ into a drug dealer’s phone,” said Funke Ojo. “This is called ‘ethical hacking’ – when you hack into a criminal’s phone for legal reasons.”
“We learned that password security is really important,” added Georgie Herdman, “so you have to make sure you don’t have a password that’s easy to hack. Be careful with webcams on laptops too – it’s quite easy to hack those so someone can see into your room.”
The industry is seeking to recruit more females and enthuse younger girls in the subject because of a shortage in female applicants. “There are currently more than 3 million unfilled posts in cyber security,” reported Rosa Heady.
A show of hands from the attendees confirmed that the event had been a success: most of the girls are now interested in a career in cyber security!