Tech Expo 2024!

The ISU College of Technology hosts an annual technology fair for middle school and high school students from across Southeast Idaho. The event, held in the ICCU Dome, attracts more than 2,000 teens to explore technology careers.

Industrial Cybersecurity has hosted a Tech Expo “booth” for 7 years. During the event, I stand in the thoroughfare and ask the youthful attendees “have you ever hacked a computer? Come on over and we will show you how!” 

Not a tough sell.

This year I had several of my current Industrial Cybersecurity students run the booth — coaching the high-schoolers through the exercise. We sit the high-schoolers across from one another and help them create a “secret” file via command line, use a default ssh password to access the other person’s computer, steal the secret, and race to shut off the other person’s computer.

Students who have never thought about this get quite excited. When asked what they learned, some students reply that they didn’t know hacking was so easy.

The event is a whirlwind as the booth stays full for four hours. I would estimate we ran 50 or 60 students through the exercise.

What impressed me most this year, is that when I asked students what they were planning to do after they finished high school, I had three or four tell me “I am going into cybersecurity.” I even had one tell me, “I heard about hackers taking out a power grid. I want to do that.”

With a big smile I was able to tell them, “We are almost full for Fall, but I think there’s still some room. Just call or email, and we will get you signed up!”

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