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Turlock High School Students Hoping To Join National Cybersecurity Competition

TURLOCK (CBS13) — The next generation of cybersecurity experts are crafting their careers in Turlock.

The team of students in the Navy's Junior ROTC program at Turlock High School is hoping to compete in May's National Youth Cyber Defense Competition in Washington, D.C.

The students are forgoing the push-ups to meet the country's growing demand to destroy online threats. They aren't old enough to vote and some can't drive yet, but they are the next generation of computer codebreakers.

"Cybersecurity is something that's really starting to boom up right now especially with how things are going on in the world and all of the companies who will actually need it. And they'll need people to fill up those positions," said senior Justin Singh.

This is their master class with instructor Carlos Montanez at the helm.

""We're not really in Silicon Valley, let's face it," he said. "But I'll tell you, we've got a lot of end users right here when you name the companies here in the Central Valley. They need people like these kids to do what they're doing."

Fending off cyberattacks has put the students on the map. They recently scored top honors in the state's Cyberpatriot Competition which put teams in the position of a newly hired IT employee to find vulnerabilities within a computer network.

"They gave us a picture of a cyberpatriot icon and they wanted us to find a secret message. So, we had to download a program with the image in it and dig very deep in it to find the message. And the message was 'good job,' said senior Gabriella Costilla

Soon, they could compete on a national stage in Washington, D.C.

"I'm pretty confident. I mean, everybody on the team, they're all very skilled in what they do. And they're all really exceptional in the OSs that they can actually work in," Singh said.

So before you assume a teenager's face is buried in their laptop to play Call of Duty, there are some who just might be saving the day.

The students will find out if they're competing within the next week.

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