Girls Go Team Wins $2K

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Director Michael Geraghty concludes congratulatory presentation with the Girls Go CyberStart team members. (Photo by Carson DeAngelis)

Carson DeAngelis, In-Depth Editor

Warren Hills Girls’ Go CyberStart Team recently received an award in mid-April during a Library Showcase in recognition of their high number of entrants.

In light of their achievement, Michael Geraghty, Director of the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (NJCICC) gave Warren Hills $2,000 to honor the Girls Go CyberStart team.

The Girls Go CyberStart competition is a series of challenges designed as an introduction to cybersecurity.  This year, it included over 67 thousand girls on a national level, including 254 within New Jersey, according to Geraghty.  The competition awarded teams for their performance, as well as number of registrations.

“In the state of New Jersey, Warren Hills High School came in second as far as the most registrations,” said Geraghty.  “As a result of that, I am honored to give you a $2,000 check to the school.”

After awarding the Girls Go team, Geraghty gave a presentation about NJCCIC and encouraged the Girls Go members to pursue careers in cybersecurity.

“The NJCCIC is part of Homeland Security,” said Geraghty.  “We were created in May of 2015 in order to make sure that the state is safe from cyber-attacks, just like the state is resilient to terrorist attacks because this fifth dimension that we talk about is not just terrorism.  It’s not just Judicial warfare.  It’s also cyber warfare and cyber terrorism.”

Geraghty also said that NJCCIC has only 32 members, and they need more to protect New Jersey.
“Those opportunities are out there.  Every company in the world has recognized cybersecurity is important,” he said.  “All those cars in the parking lot have devices in them where you have over a million lines of code, so they’re rolling computers.  As we go to autonomous vehicles and smart cities, cybersecurity in the real world becomes more and more important.”

In addition to the abundance of career opportunities, the Girls Go team would be very important to have in the cybersecurity field according to Geraghty. He said that cybersecurity should be incorporated more into Information Technology because it is as important as any other field of security.

“We’ve always talked about it as hacking in and getting credit card numbers, doing identity theft, DDOS attacks and those types of things,” Geraghty said.  “However, the reason we’re in Homeland Security is we’re blurring the lines between physical security and cyber security.”

Finally, Geraghty encouraged students to pursue cybersecurity to make a difference in the world.

“You can make games like Candy Crush and Farmville and make a gazillion dollars, and that’s great too,” he said. “but doing something that provides back to society is something that everybody looks to do.  Everyone wants to do good.”