By Kelly Werthmann

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Girl Scouts across the country took part in the first ever National Girl Scouts Cyber Challenge on Saturday, including more than 200 scouts in Colorado. At the Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, middle and high school aged Girl Scouts from around the state learned important cyber security skills.

Girls Scouts of Colorado participate in a Cyber Challenge in Littleton. (credit: CBS)

They solved a hypothetical ransomware attack in a mission that was out of this world.

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“So there’s this oxygen tank on the moon and apparently someone hacked into it,” Cassidy Christian, a scout from Littleton, explained of the assignment.

While their task was based on science fiction, the girls used real-life techniques — like coding, running trace routes and identifying phishing schemes — to determine who was behind the attack.

Girls Scouts of Colorado participate in a Cyber Challenge in Littleton. (credit: CBS)

“A letter could mean a different letter, and they can convey another word,” 12-year-old Hayden Crist said, describing the different codes she had to decipher.

U.S. defense contractor Raytheon sponsored the event in an effort to inspire girls to pursue a career in STEM, especially computer science.

“It sounds way more fun than a lot of jobs that are, like, normal,” Danica Fosket, a Girl Scout from Fort Collins, said.

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Girls Scouts of Colorado participate in a Cyber Challenge in Littleton. (credit: CBS)

Knowing there is a gender gap in the cyber security industry, scouts like Cassidy are feeling even more motivated to enter the field.

“Earlier today we watched a video, it was Cory Gardner talking about cyber security and all jobs opening up across the nation,” she said. “With Girl Scouts keeping us up to date and interested [in STEM], we’re ensuring that more of those slots will be filled.”

Girls Scouts of Colorado participate in a Cyber Challenge in Littleton. (credit: CBS)

And it all starts with hands-on experiences like the Cyber Challenge – empowering young women to take on a challenge and chase their dreams.

“Girls rule the world!” Cassidy happily proclaimed.

Girl Scouts in nine other states participated in the nationwide challenge, including California, Texas and Arizona.

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LINK: Girls Scouts Cyber Challenge

Kelly Werthmann