CyberHeroes at Cybersprint & the US Ambassador’s residence in The Hague

Day 4 of CyberHeroes week was a day full of a diverse array of activities.

First, Maarten van Duivenbode from Duivenbode ICT led a workshop on smart devices for our CyberHeroes participants. Through various different assignments, they learned how to program motion sensors, lights, smart switches, and smart buttons to perform a range of actions! This workshop gave participants a glimpse into how fun and useful smart devices can be, but also into their potential risks when it comes to security.

Next, participants headed over to The Hague where they were welcomed at Cybersprint by its CISO and Product Owner, Cynthia Schouten, who gave a presentation and a tour at the HSD Campus where they visited the IoT lab of Leiden University and Splendo.  Soufian El Yadmani, a Security Analyst at Cybersprint, also presented on how individuals with cyber-skills can maximize their opportunities. This was a great way to keep our students motivated to develop their cyber skills and to introduce them to potential career opportunities! Following this, Peter van Eijk from the Municipality of The Hague also enlightened our students on the work the Municipality does with cybersecurity companies and ethical hackers to stay in control of its online footprint.

In the evening, participants and all involved people in CyberHeroes were guests at the residence of the US Ambassador, Peter Hoekstra, in The Hague. During the reception, our students gave the Ambassador a Cyberworkplace hoodie!

CyberHeroes embark on a CSI-like adventure!

Ever wanted to be like one of those detectives on CSI? Well, today our participants got a glimpse into this world, complete with a police patrol boat adventure!

This could not have been possible without the help of Dirk-Jan Grootenboer and Peter Duin.

Dirk Jaan Grootenboer works as a digital local police officer at the Seaport Police, and Peter Duin works as a researcher for the police; specializing in cyber resilience.

At Rotterdam’s Sea Port Police headquarters, CyberHeroes participants participated in a CSI-style digital forensics challange.

After this, Floor Jansen, co-founder of Hack_Right and Strategic Adviser for Team High Tech Crime; and Digital Forensics Expert Marinus Boekelo, presented on their infamous international Hansa Market take over investigation ( i.e. “Operation Bayonet”)

What an incredible day!

Cyberworkplace vs. Cultivating Coders in a CTF Challange!

Our Capture the Flag (CTF)  challenge was a banging success! This challenge was guided by Daan Spitz from Radically Open Security. Participants divided in two teams: Cyberworkplace vs. Cultivating Coders were competing against each other. They tested their cyber-knowledge by answering a series of questions of varying difficulty on the subject of cryptography.  The Cultivating Coders students won the competition for today with 260 points, vs. Cyberworkplace with 210. The final winner will be announced on Saturday, when the deadline for the CTF challenge is!

Also, Dr. Melanie Rieback, the CEO/Co-founder of Radically Open Security, helped our students develop their 21st century skills by teaching them how to be a good CTF player, along with a demo of password cracking!

To end the day, the CyberHeroes students got some free time to tour around the picturesque city of Rotterdam. Many of the students coming from New Mexico had never left their state before embarking on the CyberHeroes project. Thus, this was a very exciting opportunity for our local Dutch students to show their new American friends Rotterdam’s top sights!

CyberHeroes Officially Launched

TODAY was DAY 1 of CyberHeroes week! We had an incredible line of events lined up.

First, we had a wonderful reception at Cyberworkplace, where everyone involved in the project was finally able to meet each other. Next, our Chairman Anouk Vos announced the official opening of CyberHeroes with Charles Ashley III, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Cultivating Coders, and US Embassy Public Affairs Counselor gave a short speech.

After a short break, Phil Zimmermann, creator of Pretty Good Privacy and member of the internet hall of fame, gave an incredible talk on the history of Cryptography. After Lunch, Oscar Koeroo, Team Lead at the Strategy and Policy Team of the Chief Information Security Office at KPN gave a hands-on lecture on RSA encryption.

We ended the day with some educational fun: a lock-picking challenge! Participants learned how to pick locks and then competed against each other in a series of competitions. This activity is meant to symbolize how easy it is to “hack” the security technology we have today – and that it’s time for change!

CyberHeroes week is only days away!

CyberHeroes week is almost here! We can’t wait for a week packed with activities that encourage the development of 21-century skills among our participants. We are also looking forward to bringing our US participants into the white-hat hacker friendly culture of the Netherlands. In the U.S.,  ethical hacking  is not (yet!) as revered or talked about as it is in the Netherlands. We are eager for the arrival of our friends from Cultivating Coders in just 4 short days!

Press release in Dutch:

Amerikaanse jongeren worden cyberhelden in Rotterdam: “hackers werken hier zelfs met de politie samen!”

10 jongeren uit de stad Albuquerque (VS) en omliggende indianenreservaten komen 17-23 maart naar Rotterdam om ethisch te hacken. Op uitnodiging van de Rotterdamse Cyberworkplace en ondersteund door de Amerikaanse Ambassade in Nederland, leren de jongeren tijdens hun bezoek websites en systemen te beschermen, digitaal onderzoek te doen en codes te kraken. De Amerikaanse talenten zien van dichtbij hoe ethische hackers in Nederland bijdragen aan een veiligere digitale wereld. Bekende hackers, werkgevers in IT-security en zelfs de politie dragen bij aan het CyberHeroes-programma, zoals het project is gedoopt.

Hacken slechte reputatie

Volgens Anouk Vos, voorzitter van de Cyberworkplace en initiatiefnemer van CyberHeroes, wordt  jong hacktalent in de Verenigde Staten amper gestimuleerd : “Zeker na de laatste presidentsverkiezingen hebben hackers daar een slechte reputatie. In Nederland is dat inmiddels wel anders. In plaats van jongeren te ontmoedigen worden hackers steeds vaker aangemoedigd om lastige veiligheidsproblemen voor het bedrijfsleven en de overheid op te lossen. Ethisch hacken is in opmars.”

Alleen in Nederland

De Amerikaanse jongeren die Rotterdam zullen bezoeken zijn geselecteerd door Cultivating Coders, een organisatie die jongeren uit achterstandswijken en Navajo-reservaten helpt om hun IT-talent te ontwikkelen. De jongeren kijken enorm uit naar het CyberHeroes programma en de kennismaking met de Nederlandse hackers uit de Cyberworkplace. “Op dit moment loopt Nederland echt voorop in de partnerschap met hackers. Nederlandse jongeren zetten hun kennis in om echte cybercrime zaken op te lossen en veiligheidsoplossingen te ontwikkelen. Dit gebeurt nergens anders ter wereld. Ik hoop dat wij terug in de VS ook echte heldendaden kunnen gaan verrichten” aldus één van de deelnemers.

De Cyberworkplace (Cyberwerkplaats) is een non-profit, collegegeld-vrij initiatief dat het tekort in cybersecurity-expertise op de arbeidsmarkt verkleint door Rotterdamse jongeren 21ste-eeuwse ICT-vaardigheden bij te brengen en relevante werkervaring op te laten doen. Het motto van de Cyberworkplace is: hack je gek en verdien een werkplek.’