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A Child's Garden of Cybersecurity

Whether you dream of your child becoming a CISO or just want them to improve their security hygiene, consider this roundup of literary geekery.

10 Slides

Of all the ways people have come up with for filling the cybersecurity talent gap, widening the pipeline seems the most promising. Strategies like reskilling existing employees and recruiting among veterans have certainly paid off for both companies and the workers looking for a new career. But one untapped reservoir of talent is right under our noses: our children.

Several programs for bringing school-age children into cybersecurity exist, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Cyber.org Range and the SANS Institute's CyberStart. But they tend to be for older kids — middle school or high school — and they can require a lot of commitment. To gauge whether your child or your niblings are even interested in the topic, you might try getting them an entertaining cybersecurity read that introduces them to the field in a light-handed way.

Some organizations already pursue this content marketing strategy in the form of child-centered book projects. One of the best is AppSec ABCs by Caroline Wong, a free download from pentesting-as-a-service company Cobalt that introduces concepts such as honeypots and key management in a kid-friendly way. Aimed at a similar age group of preschoolers, The King, The Knight & The Snowball (also free to download) is Bfore.ai's pitch for predictive threat detection.

Governments are no stranger to content marketing, of course. For example, the US Air Force publishes a short cybersecurity series, Sarah the Cyber Hero and Ben the Cyber Defender, as part of its CyberPatriot program. And Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information publishes the Data Foxes books (in German): That Is Private! (5-8 years) and What Is Data Protection? (8-13 years).

But plenty of books have been written and published for the mainstream audience, with various levels of subtlety and complexity. Many of these are passion projects by cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are also parents. After all, we all worry about the talent pipeline and the future of cybersecurity, but parents have the added worry about what their kids are going to do for a living.

Following is a look at some of what we think are the most promising reads, with a bonus slide of informational books and further reading.

About the Author(s)

Karen Spiegelman, Features Editor

Karen joined Dark Reading in January 2022 as features editor. She's been in tech editing since before the img tag was introduced, working for outlets such as the IEEE Computer Society, CNET Download.com, and TechTV. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and two cats. Find her on Mastodon.

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