Two weeks ago, I made the annual trek to the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the mother of all security shows. There’s no better place to get a one-week immersion in all things security and to meet with some of the best and brightest minds in our industry.
One of the highlights of this year’s show came on Wednesday night when I attended the Executive Women’s Forum Meet-and-Greet at the Moscone Center. The focus of this year’s EWF confab was the launch of a new “Cyber Security School Challenge,” an outreach program founded to educate America’s K-12 school aged children on the topics of online security, privacy, and safety. The Challenge is jointly sponsored by the EWF, Carnegie Mellon University, (ISC)2, and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
This program is designed to enlist security professionals around the country – like most of us – to get involved in educating America’s youth about critical online security, safety and privacy issues. Although today’s kids are more computer savvy than previous generations, it’s pretty clear that many don’t have the knowledge and maturity to make the right choices when it comes to security and privacy.
What’s unique about the Cyber Security School Challenge is that anyone can participate by going to local schools and teaching kids about online security: it’s a true grassroots effort. The Challenge website provides participants with links to various lesson plans, games, an online book and educational materials for school children of all ages.
To get a flavor for the tremendous amount of creativity and commitment being applied to this campaign to keep kids safe, check out this video created by EMC/RSA. The video is entitled “Stop. Think. Connect” and features Jason Wise, an eighth grade social studies teacher and Director of Performing Arts in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and students from Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire. It’s great education and entertainment – designed to appeal to kids, while leaving an unmistakable message behind.
We all know the vital importance that education and awareness plays in any organization’s security program. This campaign to educate a new generation of cyber citizens deserves our support – check it out today.