Columbia High School Students Learn Cyber Security

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COLUMBIA - Members of the Civil Air Patrol from St. Charles, Mo. hosted an open house at the University of Missouri on Saturday. This exhibition put students' gaming skills to the test with real life training on cyber security. 

The Air Force Association's CyberPatriot National High School competition is designed to educate students on the future of national security. The competion has a tournament-styled structure with a series of web-based competitions. 

The Civil Air Patrol showed local high school students from Columbia a variety of ways to become familiar with cyber security.

"The purpose of the competition is to interest young people in the skills necessary to defend our nation against cyber attacks," said Aerospace Education Kathi Jantz. "The skills that they learn would help them both in military careers and then also in the private sector or law enforcement."

Students who attend hope to have career paths in engineering, mathematics, technology and science.

CyberPatriot was started six years ago by the Air Force Association. Shawn Hayden, Senior Member of the Civil Air Patrol, said, "It really teaches kids how to work as a team, how to secure computers, how to protect themselves, passwords and viruses."

Members say exhibitions like this are important because you can't properly protect yourself from hacking without training.

Hayden also said he hopes CyberPatriot will motivate more students to work in fields like homeland security, information technology and cyber security. 

The final round of the competition will be held in Washington D.C. in March of next year.