Teens attending CyberCamps hosted by AT&T and AFA will compete to detect and fix bugs and better their cybersecurity posture.
Teens attending CyberCamps hosted by AT&T and AFA will compete to detect and fix bugs and better their cybersecurity posture.

Summer camp typically conjures up images of campfires, swimming and fishing in picturesque lakes and fending off swarms of bugs, but at the CyberCamps hosted this summer by AT&T and the Air Force Association (AFA), the bugs that teens will battle won't require a can of Off and the phishing won't include a pole, just some basic cybersecurity skills.

"CyberCamps can light the spark that gets teens excited about STEM fields," Col. (Ret., USAF) Lance H. Spencer, director of Air Force Strategy and Solutions, AT&T Global Public Sector, said in a release.

The teens will sharpen their cyber skills and ethics, learning how to improve password security, avoid phishing lures and improve other network security skills under the tutelage of AFA employee experts at AT&T offices in El Segundo, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Antonio, Texas. Each camper will receive software and training kits from AFA. 

Each camp session will wrap up with a competition where different teams vie to detect and fix cybersecurity bugs in simulated networks. The El Segundo and Colorado Springs CyberCamps will take place from June 26-30 while the San Antonio camp will occur July 24-28. The newest trio of camps are part of the AFA's CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program, that will host 160 camps in 2017, up from 85 in 2016.

"Our CyberCamps have exploded in popularity," Brigadier General (Ret., USAF) Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National Commissioner at AFA, said in the release. "AT&T helps us make them fun and rewarding. We are grateful for their strong support."

Hundreds of thousands of cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled in the U.S., with empty slots expected to grow significantly as the industry struggles to find skilled workers.