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National Cyber Summit returns to Rocket City in-person from Sept. 28-30

The summit will go from September 28 to September 30 at the Von Braun Center.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The National Cyber Summit is returning to the Rocket City, and this year it's in person.

Ransomeware and cybersecurity are some of the topics the 'National Cyber Summit' will tackle next month in the Rocket City.

 It's an opportunity for leaders in the field to connect. However, WZDX News Reporter, Keneisha Deas,  this summit could be a good tool for parents too. 

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, kids ages 8 -18 spend more than seven and a half hours online per day.

Some schools were forced to transition to virtual learning temporarily due to a surge in COVID cases, which may mean even more hours online.

"I think it's a critical part right now in the community with kids doing online learning and the families that are enabling them to do that," said Cyber Huntsville President, Jamie Miller.

Since 2010, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, launched Cyber Huntsville.

Leaders say they have some information for parents when their kids are on the web. 

"If they're going online and doing searches, what are some of the things they should or should not be doing to educate and train their students and families. Those are some of the discussions I think we're going to have here at the conference. 

Leaders say they're working with school districts in the Tennessee Valley to help them as well.

"We're working with some of the leaders in the area. These are some new technologies, innovative techniques to better protect our students. I think all of those things we're going to see here at the conference right, at the National Cyber Summit."

"If you're a parent, or a concerned citizen and you want to come out, the floor is open to anyone who wants to talk to vendors. Here are some of the discussions. I think it's a wonderful idea for people to come."

The summit will go from September 28 to September 30 at the Von Braun Center. Huntsville City leaders and cyber groups made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

"So it's really just understanding what that threat, what that landscape looks like and then making some ideas and recommendations for how to protect ourselves and the community," said Miller. 

In 2020, we saw a record-breaking rise in online crimes against children during the pandemic. Oftentimes these crimes happen through devices, like smartphones. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a whopping 97.5% increase in online enticement 2020. 

“They can explore the entirety of the internet of things. The applications that are on those phones. Some of them are reporting back to China. Some of them have inappropriate behavior sort of embedded in the logs on those applications,” said Gray Analytics Vice President and General Counsel Jay Town.

Town says parents can only do so much to protect their children. He said to make sure your kids are vigilant even when you’re away.  

“Our children need to know that whatever photos they take, and they text it to someone with a promise, a pinky-swear, that it will never be forwarded; it will be instantly deleted. Well, that’s not always the case. Whatever we put online, is going to be there, assume that it will be there, forever.” said Town.