On September 13th, Selena and Katherine led All Girl’s Stem Society’s Web Security Workshop. For two hours, girls learnt the basics of websites and databases, as well as how hackers take advantage of their weaknesses.
With a fun Hogwarts theme, the girls were all sorted into their Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The goal of each house was to earn the most points for their team by finding hidden flags, or secret messages, in different challenges. For the first challenge, the girls were split into breakout rooms with their Hogwarts houses and competed against other houses to be the first to find the hidden flags. The second challenge was very similar but the flags were just hidden in different websites. Next, the girls became “web crawlers” and tried to get to Wikipedia’s mushroom page from Wikipedia’s computer security page using only the links on the pages. The girls had so much fun listening to all the different journeys that others took to get to the final page that we decided to play more rounds with the final website destinations being raccoons, cats, and pandas.
Then, Katherine explained the purpose of robots on websites, and also why some websites are disallowed, or blocked off. Some websites are disallowed because they are less important and it helps redirect web crawlers to more relevant websites. Here, the girls had their third challenge but this time, they found the hidden flags with robots. At the end, Katherine reminded the girls to be careful online, whether that be never reusing passwords or to never click on unknown links.