LOCAL CYBER PATRIOTS FACE STATEWIDE COMPETITION TOMORROW

LOCAL CYBER PATRIOTS FACE STATEWIDE COMPETITION TOMORROW

A group of wannabe hackers will spend six hours tomorrow staring at computer screens in Twentynine Palms. Reporter David Haldane visited them during a practice session this week to see what, exactly, was going on…

The scene is a study in intensity. Small groups of teenagers sit staring at computer screens with heads lowered in murmured conversation. Meet the Cyber Patriots of Twentynine Palms High School, a new kind of team. Don’t be fooled by the athletic jerseys, however; their aim is to move bytes rather than balls. And tomorrow, January 20, they will be pitting their skills against similar “E-sport” teams statewide, all from right here in room 116.

The goal, teacher Michael Collins says, is to produce the best computer hackers around, but not the kind you fear. “We’re looking for cyber security specialists; good ethical hackers. We can let them work for companies that have networks that need protection, which is almost everyone. It’s a big field.”

But not an easy one. Makayla Heck, 14, has been practicing almost every night since September for tomorrow’s state finals. “Some days it’s great, and then other days it gets really frustrating. Sometimes it gets a little stressful.”

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