The first cybersecurity course in Italian schools awarded the first 50 students

The first cybersecurity course in Italian schools awarded the first 50 students

The fifty best students of CyberTrials, the first training program on cybersecurity aimed at girls in secondary schools, entirely dedicated to any knowledge in the field of cybersecurity that does not require specific knowledge of computer science upstream. Created by the National Cybersecurity Laboratory of CINI (National Interuniversity Consortium for Informatics), the initiative took place throughout the spring, involving over three hundred young future cybersecurity experts.

The girls who most distinguished themselves during CyberTrials were selected on the basis of the highest scores achieved during a permanent role-playing game organized by the GAME Science Research Center (the inter-university center on game science based at the Scuola IMT Alti studi Lucca) which was based on contents of the lectures and which involved the girls from March until today.

Each week, the students, divided into teams, challenged each other using open source intelligence (Osint) social engineering techniques and basics on cybersecurity learned in class. By solving puzzles and finding clues, the girls had the opportunity to immediately apply the techniques learned during the course.

“For CyberTrials we have designed a game that can involve all the students: their way of interacting surprised us. They have entered the scenario very well and on the social profiles they created to play now they also publish content on the topics they learn during the lessons ", says Francesca Randone, PhD student in computer science at the IMT Alti Studi Lucca School and member of the team that designed the game. “A game that engages, entertains and shows you how certain notions apply to everyday life, allows you to overcome those doubts and fears that block many girls in front of Stem disciplines, for which they think they are never good enough. This is the value of the game: it does not require previous skills and is for everyone ”, explains Ennio Bilancini, director of the GAME Science Research Center and professor at the IMT Alti Studi Lucca School.

The fifty cybergirls will participate in the final event scheduled from 27 to 29 May in Turin, on the occasion of the finals of OliCyber.IT, the Italian cybersecurity Olympics, also organized by the National Cybersecurity Laboratory. On this occasion they will have the opportunity to be in contact and interact directly with other girls and boys who have been trained on cyber security issues and to participate in a specific training activity on soft skills and team play.

CyberTrials, the training program for the digital experts of the future

The first edition of CyberTrials proved to be a success far beyond the organizers' expectations. There were more than 300 girls between the ages of 14 and 19 who, albeit without previous knowledge, applied to access the advanced course on the principles of the digital world and attack and defense techniques in the cyber world.

This year's program was designed to increase the digital awareness of female students, making them acquire useful knowledge to operate safely online and to deal with the risks associated with online presence.

In the six weeks of lessons held so far, the students have also had the opportunity to learn about the opportunities that the IT security sector can offer them, thanks also to the testimonies and experiences shared by the course teachers, such as Anna Vaccarelli, Stefania Stefanelli, Raffaele Angius, Mirko Lapi, Carola Frediani, Riccardo Meggiato and Giulia Martino. The general objective of the course, in fact, is also to stimulate interest in technical-scientific subjects, including information technology, trying to reduce more and more the gender barriers in Stem subjects.

"Let's look with enormous satisfaction with the results of CyberTrials which, despite being a first pilot edition, was able to attract the interest of hundreds of young girls who see cybersecurity as an opportunity to have fun and maybe build their own path for the future ", he commented Paolo Prinetto, director of the National Cybersecurity Laboratory: "I am grateful to the experts of the Game Science Research Center of the IMT of Lucca and to the whole team and the incredible teachers who have dedicated time and resources to this project, in perfect harmony with the vision of the Laboratory, which aims to create paths capable of concretely breaking down the cultural barriers that still today in Italy affect the presence of women in and STEM subjects, the legacy of a past that has nothing to do with the girls and boys of the future ".

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