This article is part of our internship program. It was written by our intern Lau Ern. Lau is high school student from Singapore who’s on a 1-month Marketing internship with Right-Hand.
Being so, we thought he would be a perfect fit to talk about such an essential subject as cybersecurity education in schools. Enjoy!
The internet is used to browse, work and communicate by billions of people daily. Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in profiting from this vast network as it grows. In 2021, cybercrimes cost the U.S. $6.9 billion!
Growing cybercrime is one of the reasons why it is paramount for individuals to learn about cybersecurity from an early age. Learning about it in school is effective and crucial as most students are already using the internet.
There are many other reasons why schools should do it. Firstly, cybersecurity will benefit them in their future jobs and is a potential career path. Also, no one is immune to cyber threats, mainly inexperienced students. Finally, this knowledge will allow them to protect their school and home networks.
Let’s look at these essential aspects of cybersecurity learning at schools.
Knowing Cybersecurity Basics Will Help Students in Their Future Careers
Cyber Awareness is a skill that is very important in this day and age. Having students learn about cybersecurity would benefit them in their future professions. Starting early would provide a good foundation and make them more cautious and alert.
Multinational corporations could be more susceptible to cyber attacks as the world grows increasingly interconnected through the internet. A single oversight of an employee could potentially jeopardize the entire corporation, making it face severe losses.
Small local businesses are no exception. Due to the sheer magnitude of cyberspace, no business can be sure they are not targets of potential cyber-attacks. 83% of small and medium-sized businesses are not financially prepared to recover from a significant cyber attack.
In addition, there is a shortage of professionals in the cybersecurity industry. Unfortunately, the number of cyber attacks will only increase. Therefore, meeting the demand for experts in this field is crucial. Early education will lead to a higher chance of students being interested in this field.
Cybersecurity is essential, and every student should receive knowledge that would come in handy in their future careers. What better place to learn than in schools?
Cyber Threats Affect Every Individual, Including Students
It’s not just computers: as of 2021, over half the world owns a smartphone. Being so, the threat of cyber attacks targeted toward individuals has become more dangerous than ever, and no one is truly immune to the dangers lurking in cyberspace.
Students are no exception. Being naive and inexperienced, many might unknowingly click on malicious links. Most might not even know terms such as “phishing” or “malware.” If they are unaware of such things, how will they defend themselves? Being a place that prepares children and teens for the adult world, schools are the most logical choice to educate students on the subject.
Cybercriminals know the gullible nature of students, making them easy targets. Social media is also a favorite among many youths, making it another avenue for cyber attacks.
Avoiding sharing personal information, clicking on links that seem too good to be true, or even visiting bogus websites: as students learn about the types of attacks, they can make informed decisions regarding their actions in cyberspace.
There is also an extensive array of educational programs from cybersecurity agencies that schools can look for support. One example is the SG Cyber Safe Students Programme, Organized by the Singapore Cyber Security Agency (CSA). This program aims to educate students through live talk, events, videos, and more.
Getting individuals to be vigilant from a young age will undoubtedly make them less vulnerable to the threats of cyber attacks.
Ensuring a secure cyberspace is a combined effort
Technology has proved to be an effective tool for learning, prompting many schools to integrate it into the curriculum. The usage of computers in schools has no doubt surged in recent years. It allows for more personalized, interactive, and accessible learning.
Unfortunately, cyber attacks can severely affect the learning experience just the same. School computers are all connected to a public network. So, a single infected computer would give hackers access to the school’s sensitive information.
Research made by Microsoft has shown that in the months between July and August 2020, the education sector accounted for 61% of malware.
The key to solving this problem is ensuring every student does their part to keep personal devices safe from malware. Educating students on cybersecurity also benefits the school, as successful cyber attacks on school networks may damage the institution’s reputation.
Beyond the school cyberspace, proper cybersecurity education can help students’ families and personal circles. When these students become cyber-aware, they can share this information with their family members, friends, and neighbors to inform them to be careful on the web.
This posture will ensure their respective home networks will not be easily compromised. As the older generations may have little to no clue about cybersecurity, having a younger person in the family to teach them is a plus. Secure cyberspace is a combined effort; every person must be on board to achieve this. This statement applies to households as well.
Cybersecurity education for students can benefit the country as well! This information will be disseminated to many people, and it will help reduce the losses caused by such attacks, which is only achievable by the combined effort of everyone.
To summarise, schools should take the lead in teaching cybersecurity to younger audiences. In such an interconnected and globalized world, cybersecurity needs to be something everyone knows.
We need to prepare a generation of people capable of defending our cyberspace from this threat. Schools are ideal as their first exposure to this subject. Let us all work together to keep our cyberspace secure.