If we had to choose a “most used phrase of 2022,” it would probably be “there’s an app for that!” Banking, shopping, healthcare, transit, and groceries. There’s an app for that! Unlocking our doors, vacuuming our floors, and seeing who just rang the doorbell. There’s an app for that! And while that’s made life a whole lot better (bow down to one-click-purchases), it’s also made us much more vulnerable.
Think about it — can we really trust companies with this much access to our lives? The answer, sometimes, is no.
Here’s a crazy fact: 47% of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cybercriminals. And it’s costing us. Worldwide, on average, consumers lose $358 and 21 hours of time per year dealing with online crime.
We have a HUGE cybersecurity problem in this country, and not nearly enough people working on it: there’s still a global shortage of 3.4 million workers in the field. But we also have a huge opportunity. Because who could better solve this problem than the amazing students in the Girls Who Code community?
That’s why this past fall, Girls Who Code challenged our middle and high school-aged students who participated in Girls Who Code Clubs or Summer Programs to get involved and excited about cybersecurity — and they responded in record numbers. Students submitted three times as many projects as they did in 2021 and came up with some pretty awesome solutions to spread awareness about cyber threats in their own communities. Specifically, they created projects that explain what cyber-attacks are and shared tips to prevent them. Through this process, the students were introduced to careers in cybersecurity and related fields.
With the support of BAE Systems and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Girls Who Code is excited to announce our winning projects selected by GWC staff and our partner judges from CISA, Bank of America, Accenture, and Raytheon Technologies! Meet the winners and check out their incredible projects:
Jay created “Stay Safe From the Man in the Middle,” a website and Scratch program that teaches teens about the cyber threat of Wifi Eavesdropping, where a hacker makes a fake wifi connection matching public wifi to trick people into clicking theirs, putting the victim’s information at risk. https://hq.girlswhocode.com/project-gallery/16347
Liheng, Yi, and Kevin created a Password Security Checker that tells you the strength of the password you input and lets you know what to do if your password is stolen. https://hq.girlswhocode.com/project-gallery/16261
Elizabeth created a detailed slideshow about the Instagram scams and coded a quiz in Python about cyber threats. https://hq.girlswhocode.com/project-gallery/16223
Avni and Mia received an honorable mention for their project “Hacking a Teddy Bear.” After learning about the toy company Cloud Pets scandal, these students hacked into their own Cloud Pets Toy to spread awareness about the cyber threat of bluejacking. https://hq.girlswhocode.com/project-gallery/16192
Patricia, Cassidy, and Bree also received an honorable mention for their project “The Password Problems.” These students wrote a story about two friends who learn about cybersecurity and why having a strong password is important. https://hq.girlswhocode.com/project-gallery/16287
“These projects are proof that the future of security is thriving in the Girls Who Code community, and I send my congratulations to the winners and to every student who was bold enough to participate,” said Craig Newmark, a Cyber Threat Challenge supporter and longtime advocate for cybersecurity education and workforce development. “I hope more young women and nonbinary people get inspired to pursue an exciting career in cybersecurity. When our workforce is representative of the diverse communities we live in, we all become safer, more secure, and more able to appreciate all the benefits that tech has to offer.”
Stay tuned for more information on our Spring Challenge, which will launch on January 25th. We can’t wait to see what our community creates next!