Duke Cybersecurity MEng Student Wins (ISC)² Graduate Scholarship

9/12 Pratt School of Engineering

Vaibhav Zaveri entered the cybersecurity field due to his experience getting hacked in high school

Vaihbav Zaveri
Duke Cybersecurity MEng Student Wins (ISC)² Graduate Scholarship

When Vaibhav Zaveri was still in high school in 2017, his high school account was compromised, creating significant challenges during his senior year. His account privileges were revoked, rendering him unable to complete online assignments, communicate with teachers through his school email or utilize any school devices. After a discussion with the school’s Vice-Principal, Zaveri discovered that his school account had been used to launch a network attack on the school’s systems, leading to stringent measures taken against his account and devices to prevent further damage.

“This was my initial exposure to the world of cybersecurity, and it motivated me to delve deeper into the subject as I encountered escalating issues,” Zaveri said. “I remember encountering explicit content on my screen, witnessing my mouse pointer move autonomously and experiencing my cell phone malfunctioning each time I connected to Wi-Fi. These occurrences showed me that hacking can happen to anyone at any time.”

The experience exposed him to the importance of cybersecurity. And now, six years later, as a student in Duke Engineering’s Cybersecurity Master of Engineering program, he’s working to make a difference. In fact, Zaveri was recently honored with the “Graduate Scholarship” by (ISC)², the world’s largest IT security organization.

(ISC)², short for the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, is a non-profit organization specializing in the training and certification of cybersecurity professionals. This year, a rigorous selection process saw a total of 1,656 applicants vying for this prestigious scholarship, with only 61 applicants successfully making the cut, resulting in an acceptance rate of approximately 3.7%. (ISC)² evaluated applicants on various criteria, including their background, future aspirations, and dedication to the cybersecurity industry.

Zaveri’s goal is to address the cybersecurity challenges faced by today’s teens, striving to develop innovative solutions that allow young individuals to navigate the digital world safely. Recognizing the escalating concerns surrounding cybersecurity, particularly among younger generations, he emphasizes the need for comprehensive education and awareness programs.

”Everyone should get an early start on cybersecurity education,” Zaveri said. ” Students should be well-informed about potential online threats, and younger generations should actively share their experiences to raise cybersecurity awareness.”