Rip-Off Alert | Students learning computer programming and cyber security early on

Students are learning computer programming and cyber security through special summer camps. (KSNV file)

This week, the "who's who" of hacking met for the Black Hat conference, right here in Las Vegas.

It may seem odd, but compromised computers could teach us all a lesson. That's the goal of a specific program to fight future rip-offs.

Inside a Washington D.C.-area community college, middle school students are fielding questions they learned over the past five weeks at summer camp.

Our Sinclair sister station WJLA learned they're being introduced to computer programming and how to guard against a cyber attack.

Michael Mesina, 17, is the mastermind behind the "Hackathon." He's a volunteer with the Patriots Technology Training Center, a non-profit helping lead kids into careers involving STEM.

"So it's important for them to know how to protect themselves as technology gets more advanced with scammers and con artists," said Mesina.

"Making sure they're job ready and making sure agencies look at those kids and maybe even offer scholarships for them," said Khyree Lindsey.

The summer youth enrichment program has hosted workshops on computer building, computer networking, and cyber security.

The middle and high school students have also partnered with government agencies to help learn the basics.

"We've been working with the NSA, CIA, USDA, uh Department of Energy," said Lindsey.

That's just to name a few. And in May, fifth grader Kiera Drew won first place with her team at a Cyber Security Competition.

"One of our mentors was a cyber policy analyst so that helped us a lot with his advice and what he does for a living," said Drew.

These students are being exposed to careers in the growing industry of cyber security and they're learning the tools that make them extremely marketable and employable at a young age ... and tools that can prevent future rip-offs.

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