Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Careers & People

5/4/2020
07:00 PM
50%
50%

Stay-at-Home Students Offered Lessons to Boost Cybersecurity

Stuck at home with a primary- or secondary-school student? Organizations from professional training groups to national governments are teaming up to offer virtual cybersecurity training for teens -- in some cases, for free.

Schools and parents unsure about what to do with primary school students stuck with remote learning will soon have another option: cybersecurity training. 

The UK government and the SANS Institute, a professional training organization, have teamed up to offer an online program that trains students in the foundations of cybersecurity. The program will be free to any student in the United Kingdom for the summer months. Within two weeks, the training program will also be available to students in the United States as well, but for a fee, says Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute.

The program is part of the UK government's attempt to identify students who may be interested in further cybersecurity training, he says. SANS is in discussions with the US government to offer a similar program to US citizens, according to Paller.

"If you have a brain wired for this type of learning, it's fun," he says. "There are people who love puzzles who love learning this way, while other people cannot understand why you would do this to yourself."

With the world economy continuing to be hit hard by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and remote employees having to juggle work while managing their children's education, training groups are looking to provide educational options for teenagers and college students. 

While many activities targeting teens are focused on raising awareness of cybersecurity issues, a handful of programs are aiming to provide an early entry into the discipline. The Public Broadcasting System, for example, has teamed up with the University of Texas at Austin and educators from a number of organizations and companies to produce a series of activities as a cybersecurity lab for younger students. 

Other free options include Cybrary, a professional training service that offers basic courses for free. Government contractor MITRE also has training resources that are free that and are suitable for older students. SANS's CyberAces is a three-module foundation focused on operating systems, networking, and system administration. 

All the programs hope to attract more potential students to learn about cybersecurity.

Both government agencies and private industry need more cybersecurity professionals who have the skills necessary to secure critical systems and data, SANS's Paller says. Before the economic downturn caused by the epidemic, estimates of the shortfall in cybersecurity workers had  risen to more than 4.0 million globally, according to (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, with job sites estimating that only two out of every three available positions were filled. With the pandemic still threatening the economy, cybersecurity workers appear to have relatively stable prospects.

Yet the demand is not uniform across all subspecialties in the discipline, Paller maintains. Supply of both less technical managers and less academic security-operations workers are less critical.

"There are enough people getting out of college to fill all of those jobs," he says. 

The most technical workers — those who can create exploits and hunt down attackers in networks — are the hardest to currently find, Paller says. Programs that target developing those highly technical skills in students are the most beneficial, he says. Only one to three students out of every 100 attempting the Cyber Discovery program have the persistence to qualify for the scholarships at the end of the program.

"The average kid plays for three or four hours, but some kids play 300 or 400 hours," he says. "It is not just that you need a natural skill, but a natural skill with a lot of specific domain knowledge."

For that reason, the most compelling resources for both parents and industry are those that can keep students' interest. The SANS Institute has turned each project into a game with scenarios — some fanciful, others more realistic — that keep the students' interest, Paller says. Another program that focuses on attracting female students to cybersecurity takes a similar approach.

In addition to its Cyber Discovery program, the SANS Institute has a one-hour challenge called Cyber Start Go, which includes 12 puzzles that get progressively harder.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "Election Security in the Age of Social Distancing."

Veteran technology journalist of more than 20 years. Former research engineer. Written for more than two dozen publications, including CNET News.com, Dark Reading, MIT's Technology Review, Popular Science, and Wired News. Five awards for journalism, including Best Deadline ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
EdWelsh
50%
50%
EdWelsh,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2020 | 6:45:30 AM
Interesting
It's a great initiative. Moreover, cybersecurity is very important today. I'm a school teacher and know how often children are affected by trolls. I also investigate this theme during my work on the dissertation and find several interesting articles on writix, professional essay writing service. I think that https://writix.co.uk/write-my-dissertation-for-me describes the problem and also the necessity of education in this field. Actually this resource is very beneficial for everyone.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 6/3/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20811
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.0.6. In rx_queue_add_kobject() and netdev_queue_add_kobject() in net/core/net-sysfs.c, a reference count is mishandled, aka CID-a3e23f719f5c.
CVE-2019-20812
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.4.7. The prb_calc_retire_blk_tmo() function in net/packet/af_packet.c can result in a denial of service (CPU consumption and soft lockup) in a certain failure case involving TPACKET_V3, aka CID-b43d1f9f7067.
CVE-2020-13776
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
systemd through v245 mishandles numerical usernames such as ones composed of decimal digits or 0x followed by hex digits, as demonstrated by use of root privileges when privileges of the 0x0 user account were intended. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2017-1000082.
CVE-2019-20810
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
go7007_snd_init in drivers/media/usb/go7007/snd-go7007.c in the Linux kernel before 5.6 does not call snd_card_free for a failure path, which causes a memory leak, aka CID-9453264ef586.
CVE-2020-4026
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
The CustomAppsRestResource list resource in Atlassian Navigator Links before version 3.3.23, from version 4.0.0 before version 4.3.7, from version 5.0.0 before 5.0.1, and from version 5.1.0 before 5.1.1 allows remote attackers to enumerate all linked applications, including those that are restricted...