AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – As long as there’s been a World Wide Web there have been hackers, and everyone online faces one degree of risk or another.
This past holiday shopping season cyber crooks stole personal information from millions of Target shoppers.
At Rangeview High School in Aurora a cyber security student team is getting the kind of training that might help them stop a big corporate hacker someday.
“I’m going through to see if anything suspicious that could help enhance a hacker,” sophomore Ian McDowell told CBS4’s Suzanne McCarroll.
Led by teacher Randy Mills who teaches business and computers, the “CyberPatriot” team spends hours perusing the Internet trying to find security breaches in big computer systems. They compete against ethical hacking teams across the country by finding loopholes and coming up with solutions.
And they are very proud of their geeky stereotype.
“I’m a mathlete, not an athlete,” junior Leeann Wilson said.
Senior Lucas Nicodemus told CBS4 he found what appears to be a real flaw in the digital security system of a college.
“I found a flaw in a college computer network which allowed us to access their security webcams, the door system that allowed them to create door key cards for the dorm rooms and all of their printers,” he said.
Nicodemus notified the school about what he found but the apparent security breach still hasn’t been addressed.
“You could arguably still add a printer from their school and still print from it halfway across the United States and it would work,” he said.
McCarroll asked Nicodemus how he he’s been describing his skill to interested colleges.
“On his college application and they ask for your hobbies, will you say hacker?” McCarroll asked.
“I’ve said hacking on a couple applications. I’ve said programmer on more,” he said.
In March the Rangeview student “hackers in training” will go to the national CyberPatriot competition in Washington — which is sort like the Super Bowl of computer sleuths.
“These young people have skills that are beyond what we ever would have expected. And so we’re taking kids that have strong skills in working with computers, with servers, with programming and we are showing them ways and techniques to make this a much safer world technologically,” Mills said.
“They are learning how to harden and fix servers and computers and solve a lot of the problems that are occurring now with the advent of wireless and wired networks.”