In its simplest form, cybersecurity is everyone working together to keep our information safe and our computer systems secure. More specifically, cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and sensitive information from unauthorized access that can compromise confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Cybersecurity, at it’s heart, is about engendering trust. Good cybersecurity allows us to trust our banks for electronic transactions, our doctor’s offices to maintain private records, and online shopping sites to protect our credit card information. There are many specific parts of cybersecurity as a field, and while all people should have a basic understanding of how to be safe and what is trustworthy, there are also professionals who work to build and guard the systems that keep us safe.
Three Examples of how a professional or person might use cybersecurity:
The cybersecurity workforce plays a crucial role in safeguarding online information, from personal accounts to national security. We are facing growing cybersecurity threats and a significant national cybersecurity workforce shortage of over 570,000 cybersecurity professionals. Filling these positions is essential to protecting organizations from outside threats, advancing U.S. innovation, and diversifying the country’s cybersecurity workforce. In order to help individuals learn how to protect themselves and their workplace, educating students on cybersecurity needs to start as early as kindergarten.
Cybersecurity is an often intimidating subject so making it accessible to all students is essential to grow the workforce. Check out CYBER.ORG’s career resources to help your students understand the many possibilities in the industry:
Are there SPECIFIC standards for cybersecurity?
CYBER.ORG’s K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards aim to ensure that students have a foundational understanding of cybersecurity and the skills and knowledge needed to pursue cybersecurity careers in greater numbers.The standards were designed to be comprehensive, easy to use, easy to find and center around three core themes: Computing Systems (CS), Digital Citizenship (DC) and Security (SEC) and cover a range of cutting-edge cybersecurity topics, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to Threat Actors. The standards are available for wholesale adoption at no cost to states, districts and all educators to incorporate into existing curricula opportunities or course standards.
In 2019, North Dakota became the first state to adopt K-12 computer science and cybersecurity standards, providing a framework to ensure all students have the opportunity to access computer science and cybersecurity education and bolster student achievement levels.
Are there places where cybersecurity appears in other standards?
In addition to the Computer Science Teachers Association standards below, cybersecurity may also be a part of your state's technology literacy or digital literacy standards.
What are good starting resources for a teacher or administrator?
Because of the need for cybersecurity education, there have been many articles written and shared about cybersecurity. Consider starting with this one from Common Sense media.
Are there any media or stories of cybersecurity out there to help me learn more?
Check out the following resources to gain a better understanding of cyber safety, cybersecurity best practices for schools and districts, and more to enhance your knowledge of cybersecurity education:
CYBER.ORG is proud to collaborate with the Girl Scouts of the USA to introduce young girls to cybersecurity concepts and spark their interest in a career in cybersecurity. Learn more about our efforts to encourage more women and girls to pursue cybersecurity careers here:
CYBER.ORG and Executive Director Laurie Salvail have been featured in major stories about cultivating the next generation of cybersecurity talent and why K-12 cybersecurity education is so critical to filling the cybersecurity workforce gap.
4 ways the National Cybersecurity Strategy could shape K-12: K-12 Dive: 4/8/23
How do ethics and social impacts intersect with cybersecurity?
Since cybersecurity is focused on protecting information and people, as well as creating trust for transactions, how people are protected, how we test our systems, and who has access to high quality cyber tools matters. Check out this article from CompTIA about ethical hacking for one way we test our systems and consider the ethics of cybersecurity.
What keywords could be searched to find out more about cybersecurity?
How do we build capacity to add this to our instruction?
Many CS or digital literacy curricula have lessons or resources for teaching about cybersecurity, but may not cover the full scope of cybersecurity standards. Check with your favorite curriculum or platform, such as cyber.org, brainPOP, Learning.com or others, to see what is available and use the member curriculum page at CSforALL.org to find others.
The NSF has funding for Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace, which includes funding for education projects. Additionally, private funders and corporations understand the importance of cybersecurity and may be willing to support teacher professional learning or projects.
Pathway planning and Support
Check with your local CSTA chapter or with your state department of education for upcoming professional learning and pathway planning opportunities.
How Its Connected
Cybersecurity as a field grew out of advancements in networks and the internet and algorithms and programming. Cybersecurity was developed as more people got online, and more companies conducted business in digital spaces.