Summer Infosec Opportunities and Resources for Students

The COVID-19 epidemic shut down much of the country during the peak time for summer internship hiring. Many students who had already lined up their summer plans have now seen those programs cancelled or postponed. Around the country, high school and college students are back in their childhood bedrooms, looking for something constructive to do this summer -- in a virtual setting, of course.

If you're a high school or college student who's interested in information security, check out the following resources for jobs, education, and fun. These are just a few that I put together by polling friends and colleagues; there are certainly other opportunities out there that aren't on this list, particularly at large tech companies with well-developed internship programs. 

Don't see anything that appeals to you? That's OK. These are just some starting points. You can spend your summer brushing up on a particular skill, learning a new programming language, or doing a deep dive into whatever topic(s) you find interesting and reading everything you can get your hands on about it. If you want something more structured, don't be afraid to reach out to organizations you admire and ask if they'll take you on as an intern or a volunteer. (That's how I got my start in the tech policy world: in 2002, when I was home from college for the summer and looking for something to do, I read an article in the newspaper that mentioned a non-profit just up the road from me in San Francisco, a small organization called "the Electronic Frontier Foundation.") The places you cold-call don't have to be infosec-oriented entities, either: local businesses and non-profit organizations still have IT departments, after all. 

Note: I have not vetted these suggestions; some of them are only for college students and not open to high schoolers, while others are open to everyone, whether you're a student or not. I hope they're helpful. Some opportunities have upcoming deadlines to apply, so don't miss out!

Internships

  • The federal government's "Pathways" internships are open to students age 16+. (Some roles may be restricted to U.S. citizens.) Agencies with openings post the internships on USAjobs.gov. Agencies likely to have infosec-related opportunities include the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Defense, and various military branches. See more info from CISA here and from the Office of Personnel Management here.
  • Cloudflare recently announced that they're doubling the size of their 2020 internship class, and the internships are virtual. More info here.
  • Code for America may occasionally have internship opportunities -- search for them here.

Education

  • Stanford's Summer Session will be virtual this year. The application deadline has been extended to June 10. Details are still being worked out and the course list is still being finalized. More info here.
  • Wolfram offers a 2-week-long virtual summer camp.
  • MIT's Lincoln Lab runs a one-week introduction to cryptography program for high school students called LLCipher. It's virtual this year. 
  • Independent security researcher and trainer Azeria has some labs on her website that can be run at home, either using an emulator or a Raspberry Pi if you have one.
  • Learn SRE/devops skills through at-home training courses; some offer certification exams. Linux Academy has several options in the free tier.
  • Learn web application security through OWASP Academy's free courses, SheHacksPurple (free & $ options), or the Web Security Academy.
  • Salesforce has free cybersecurity education resources for everyone, student or not.
  • Hopper's Roppers offers free intro-level courses for cybersecurity beginners.
  • (ISC)2 is offering free and deeply discounted cybersecurity training courses.
  • Malware Unicorn (Amanda Rousseau) offers free reverse engineering workshops.

Self-Directed Work

  • Hack for good and make some money while you're at it: create an account on HackerOne and pick up some bug bounties.  
  • If there are any open source projects you like to use and want to help improve, you can contribute to them through places such as GitHub or apache.org.
  • Get involved in CTF (capture-the-flag) competitions. You'll hone your skills and make friends for life. You can find a list of upcoming CTFs here.

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