Secondary schools across the UK will be taking on a uniquely cyberpunk feel to some of their lessons as it has been decided that certain institutions will begin teaching cybersecurity to their pupils.
This decision follows in the aftermath of contemporary global issues such as the Russian hacking scandal, in which Russian sources have been implicated in cyberattacks on US federal bodies – with more attacks expected to follow. This program will equip schoolkids with extremely useful skills in their personal lives in terms of safeguarding against malware and data theft: an issue that becomes more and more vital to combat in an increasingly digital world. I’m sure we all remember our early days on the internet, barely capable of discerning virus-laden downloads and emails from the legitimate things they imitated, getting our computers hideously maimed by Trojans in the process (sorry, Dad); having teens who know better than to make those mistakes certainly can’t be a bad thing. More than that, however, the program hopes to breed the next generation of ‘white hat hackers’ – individuals who use their affinity for code to close loopholes in company software and help boost the security of a system against attack. Cybersecurity, for the reasons outlined above, is a fast growing industry, and it’ll be a great boon for these young script kiddies to have skills which will help them access further education and ultimately jobs in this sector.
“I’m sure we all remember our early days on the internet, barely capable of discerning virus-laden downloads and emails from the legitimate things they imitated”
Personally, I can only say I wish this had come sooner. Though high-profile attacks are certainly more prevalent now than ever, they are by no means a new thing, and there is simply no way to assess how much damage has been dealt in the past couple of decades due to insubstantial or inefficient modes of defence. Had this issue been addressed sooner, hundreds of thousands of people might not have been cheated out of bank account details, personal photographs, or compromising information. For better or worse (and contrary to my tone, I do sincerely believe it is for the better) a lot of our lives are lived online; the importance of protecting that wealth of information on both a personal and international level cannot be understated.