REPORTING BY DEBBIE COLLINS-PALMER
Amidst all the recent news about cyber-attacks, have you ever asked the question, how secure am I? One can only speculate as to the extent of their own personal online safety, as the world around us continually evolves into a technologically savvy society. MGTA is launching a series of summer courses for kids designed as a personally engaging introduction to Cyber Security.
“The need for trained security personnel has accelerated to an all-time historical high, requiring not only college degrees but security certifications to meet the demand,” explains MGTA Cyber Security instructor Debbie Collins-Palmer. “Learning cyber safety encompasses everything from personal and professional protection to securing social media networks. Learning to identify and secure your personal data vulnerabilities plays a major role in your safety. It is never too early to learn how to protect yourself and others against the cyber threatening elements!”
The MGTA Cyber Defense course will provide an introduction to personal cyber defense, and it will provide an opportunity for students to embark on the path towards developing the skills for national competitions, more advanced cyber security education in college, and certifications which will lead to launching a lucrative cyber security career. Students will learn the foundational concepts of Cybersecurity and develop skills that will allow them to protect their personal and family accounts, as well as office environments, from viruses and attacks.
Topics we will include: types of attacks (Trojan horse, worm ransomware, social engineering), how to identify scamware, how to identify safe/unsafe sites, personally identifiable information (PII) protection, (types of information that can be taken from social networking accounts), encryption techniques, good vs. bad anti-virus software, how to address virus issues on your computer, and where to go for emergency help. More advanced students engage in hands on exercises to learn the basics on how to secure Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, and they will be challenged to find vulnerabilities through competitive, team based exercises.
“The importance of protecting yourself in the cyber world today,” says Ms. Collins-Palmer, “could affect and prevent personal cyber safety compromises in your future!”See Debbie Collins-Palmer's Bio
Currently her expertise is being utilized in the development and instruction of Middle School cyber security and internet safety training. She is engaged in the development and implementation of the cyber defense curriculum for the Mason Game & Technology Academy (MGTA) summer program, and she is guiding the expansion of the MGTA cyber security program and curriculum for on-line instruction throughout the tri-county region. Debbie will also be serving as the CyberPatriot coach for the Stonewall Middle School teams in the 2016-2017 school year.