16-year-old ‘cyber genius’ works with state to protect networks

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — At 16 years old and entering his second year of college at Western Governor’s University, Talmage Kelley is getting an up-close look at some of the state’s most sensitive information. Kelley is interning with Alabama’s Office of Information Technology, in hopes of creating his own company one day.

“I plan to start my own business, be a contractor for the state and federal government, like on base and do various contracting work,” Talmage Kelley said. 

Kelley is working in what’s referred to as the SOC, security operations center. 

“I’m learning how to use technologies like Stealthwatch, which monitors everything going on,” Talmage Kelley said. 

Ryan Allen oversees the security operations center, he says Kelley is making an impression on his department.  

“When he applied for the internship we were a little concerned about his youth, but he has done a spectacular job for us,” Allen said. 

Kelley is the youngest intern, but he is joined by other future cyber security experts.

“It’s been a really eye opening experience to see just on a daily basis with just the thousands and even millions of threats we get at any time,” said Thatcher Pinkton, an OIT intern.

The department says they use the internship as a recruitment tool, in hopes the students will come back and work for the state. 

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