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MNHS Sophomore Creates Computer Security Code During Internship

Riya Pawar Riya Pawar, a sophomore in the Science and Engineering Program at Manalapan High School, was one of the youngest students selected for a summer internship with Commvault Systems. As part of her internship, Riya learned about ransomware, a type of malware that attacks critical IT infrastructure until a ransom is paid.  

Hackers often use data encryption to attack IT infrastructure. Commvault uses honeypot, a security mechanism, to detect attacks on their data. The honeypot creates a virtual trap to attract hackers. If the honeypot is encrypted, Commvault software can report the incident; which helps customers take preventative measures to protect the rest of their data.  

To enhance customer security, Riya wrote code that makes multiple dynamic honeypot files with different extensions and places them in various locations among the customers’ other important files. Riya’s code accounts for Windows and Linux-based extensions that are added to the files depending on the system. The dynamic nature of her honeypot file creation makes it harder for ransomware technology to skip the honeypot files. This leads to a more secure user environment. Riya’s code is now part of Commvault’s product and is used for the security checks of thousands of Commvault’s customer companies (including several Fortune 100 Companies).  

Riya is thankful to the Commvault management team for their guidance, and her teachers in the Science and Engineering Program for providing her with the knowledge necessary for this internship. Riya was excited to see the lessons she was taught in school applied in a working product.  

The Science and Engineering Magnet Program offers a four-year program of interdisciplinary studies for students interested in pursuing careers in mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences. Students in this program undertake an accelerated course of study in mathematics, science, computer science, and electronics. In conjunction with specialized studies, students receive a comprehensive education in the humanities.