We're empowering girls to become the next leaders in cybersecurity and help protect the web.
Can you help us find them?

There's a huge shortage of cybersecurity experts in the US. Girls Go CyberStart encourages high school girls to explore the exciting career opportunities in the field, join the global cybersecurity community, and learn skills that will ensure our country offers a safe place to live, work and play online.

What is Girls Go CyberStart?

Girls Go CyberStart is a fun and interactive online program composed of digital challenges to introduce high school girls to cybersecurity. Over 10,000 high school girls have taken part in the Girls Go CyberStart program so far and loved it!

High school teachers across the US can help find the next cybersecurity superstars by becoming Girls Go CyberStart Advisors.

"It was really fun doing the problems and finding out that I have talent in the coding field."

Julia S., Maine.

No prior experience is required to become an Advisor, we provide everything you need! The program will gradually build your students’ knowledge, introducing them to exciting topics like cryptography, web vulnerabilities, Python, Linux and forensics. Teamwork, persistence and determination are key. Whether your students already know a bit about computer science, or have never considered a career in technology, they’ll love Girls Go CyberStart!

What is a Girls Go CyberStart Advisor?

As an Advisor, your role is to provide the space and time your students need to uncover their hidden cybersecurity skill by running a Girls Go CyberStart Club. No tech skills are required, just your passion and enthusiasm for learning. We provide everything you need to run your own Girls Go CyberStart Club!

If you have students who love solving puzzles, using logic to work through challenging tasks and learning new skills, then they’ll love Girls Go CyberStart.

Students who enjoy language, math, or music class often excel in this field - but so do people who prefer geography, history and drama! Whatever your students’ passions are, there's only one way to find out if they’ll also love cybersecurity. Give it a shot and register your interest now to run your own Club!

The next intake for the program will open for registration on 2nd December, 2019. In the meantime, you can register your interest now and we’ll be in touch with fun challenges to get you started soon.

What will my students learn?

By the end of playing Girls Go CyberStart, your students will have delved into disciplines such as cryptography, password cracking, digital forensics and open source intelligence gathering.

The levels get increasingly difficult, but CyberStart Assess is designed to be accessible to any student and uncover those hidden superstars with natural ability, regardless of whether they already study computer science!

What is my role as an Advisor?

1. Form a Girls Go CyberStart Club when we open registration on December 2nd, 2019.

2. Help motivate and support your students as they progress through the challenges. You don't need any experience with cybersecurity to become an advisor!

The program

Girls Go CyberStart is completely free.

To be eligible to participate, students must:

  • Identify as female
  • Be at least 13 years old on December 2nd, 2019
  • Be enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade at a public or private school (or the homeschool equivalent).

Got more questions? Check out our FAQ section below.

"Thank you for this opportunity. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and now I do thanks to this program."

Selena V., Hawaii.

CyberStart student

"You have motivated me to pursue cybersecurity as a possible career and believe that I actually have a chance to succeed."

Previous Girls Go CyberStart Student

"The impact of my club and the experiences I had while working with the girls did more than just get me excited for coding, it also gave me a passion for Women in Tech."

Previous Girls Go CyberStart Student

CyberStart student

Key stages and dates

Registration opens on December 2, 2019

Girls Go CyberStart is made up of three stages. You start by participating in a fun online tryout called CyberStart Assess. Clubs that meet the program's selection criteria will move on to CyberStart Game where they'll master all of the techniques needed to compete in an online game of Capture the Flag in CyberStart Compete!

CyberStart Assess

Open from January 13, 2020 to January 31, 2020

This initial assessment invites students to take on a set of fun, interactive challenges that represent realistic scenarios and threats faced by practitioners in the field of cybersecurity.

CyberStart Game

Open from February 10, 2020 to April 17, 2020

Focusing on self-learning, CyberStart Game uses hundreds of online challenges to develop interest in security disciplines, such as Linux, cryptography and programming.

"As the game progresses, students visibly develop the drive to solve that next challenge, and then the next. The motivation to research, collaborate, 'try-fail-try-fail-try and try again' is a skill set that will serve them in whatever career they pursue."

CyberStart Club Advisor

Students will take on the role of a security agent, gathering information, cracking codes, finding security flaws and dissecting a cyber criminal's digital trail, using our in-tool resources, working together, and researching techniques to advance to the next challenge.

National Championship for Girls Go CyberStart

Open from April 23, 2020 to April 24, 2020

Students will also be able to take part in an online Capture the Flag competition where they’ll battle against each other and the clock to solve challenges!

Want to try something right now?

Head over to CyberStart Go, a tool we built to give you a quick sample of what CyberStart Assess and Game are like. It's free to use and features over a dozen challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

For students

CyberStart students

What are the rules?

  • Research isn't cheating! Students are actively encouraged to use the Internet to find ways to solve any challenge.
  • Advisors/teachers/parents may assist in the installation or troubleshooting of software and equipment.
  • Students may use any freely available tool to complete a given challenge.
  • Tools that must be purchased (e.g., ordered online) are not allowed.

Can students join another school's Club?

No, students may only join your own school’s Club.

May students join a Club through a youth or homeschool organization?

Yes! The process is the same as joining a school Club.

How many Clubs may students join?

Students may only participate in one Club.

Once a student joins a Club, may they change?

No, students must remain part of the same Club for the duration of the 2019 program.

For advisors

What's a Club?

A Club is a way to associate all of the girls competing in Girls Go CyberStart from your school. It's used to achieve eligibility for CyberStart Game and for selecting a team for CyberStart Compete.

We aren't a school - may we create a Club?

A Club may be associated with any (public or private) school or any youth organization, including Girl Scouts, the YWCA, or a homeschool association.

May a school have more than one Club?

More than one Club is permitted per school; however, qualification for CyberStart Compete is on a school-by-school basis. This means if your school qualifies for the Capture the Flag, you must select 4 girls across all Clubs in your school. When registering as an advisor from a school with more than one Club, please make sure you check the box that allows us to contact you about other students and/or Clubs participating from your school.

What equipment will I need?

For CyberStart Assess:

  • A computer or Chromebook.
  • A reliable Internet connection.
  • Chrome or Firefox browser (including access to the developer tools within the browser - example: View Source or Inspect Element or scripting abilities).

For CyberStart Game (stage 2):

  • A computer with VMware or Virtual Box, in order to run the CyberStart Virtual Machine for Game. Early levels of Game do not require the virtual machine but you will need this to play beyond Level 5 and try the forensics challenges.
  • Unrestricted access to browser developer tools/settings - example: View Source or Inspect Element or scripting abilities.

Note: Many school computers have restrictions that limit access to the browser tools functions. Check with your school IT professional to see if these blocks can be temporarily lifted for the competition or plan to use unrestricted equipment, like home computers or computers at public libraries, for the more advanced challenges.

Note also: Chromebooks won't work beyond level 6 in Game.

If you require any help or further information please email support@girlsgocyberstart.org and we'll be happy to help.