A study published by Salve Regina University, Rhode Island, reveals that there is nowhere near enough emphasis on educating America’s next generation in fending off cyber-attacks and the same is true of the UK. So is it time to introduce words such as cyber crime, hacking, black-hat and white-hat to classrooms worldwide?
Barack Obama referred to cyber security as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face” and in light of recent events affecting US – China relationships, this is no exaggeration. Organisations such as DefCon has recognized this problem and set up DefCon Kids to try and engage children from a young age. In the UK, the Cabinet Office has decided to open a Cyber Security Challenge for schools that will encourage children to show off their code breaking talents, in the battle for £1000 cash prize for their schools.
When you think about it, what could be more attractive to an 8 year old than breaking into stuff that is normally prohibited? Plus, children have attributes that lend themselves well to hacking. They are inquisitive by nature and, unlike adults, they tend not to be stifled by preconceptions of themselves and their abilities to learn new things. Because of this, they are more likely to think outside the box when solving problems and use trial and error. Just give a tablet to a child who has never seen one before and watch what happens.
We applaud initiatives that aim to tackle the lack of cyber experts and we are hopeful there will be a few brilliant young minds emerging from ‘The Challenge’ who will opt for a career in cyber. The challenge the industry faces is working out how to channel this talent in the right direction. How do we explain to children the rights and wrongs of a new industry that is still trying to define its own boundaries? And how do we convince them that their newly discovered powers must be used for good?
Look out for more news about how Titania is working with organisations and educational institutions locally, in Worcestershire, as well as across the UK and America to support the next generation of cyber security professionals. Alternatively you can contact us directly to find out more.