Despite an affection for the former SyFy network series Eureka, which featured SARAH, a moody artificially intelligent “home of the future” with abandonment issues, I’ve been disinclined to partake in smart technology innovations. Since purchasing a car with OnStar a number of years ago and upgrading my home security system, vendors have doggedly tried to convince me to activate my OnStar account since my trial subscription ended, replace my house locks with a keyless entry system, and remotely control my thermostat from my cell phone. As someone who went without a cellphone for over six months last year (deaf to the objections of my loved ones), I have no desire to control anything with my cellphone other than parking my car in metered spots without quarters (and as a reformed gamer, the luxury of playing Subway Surfers at will). The first time the disembodied (but lovely) voice of an OnStar Help representative drifts into your car, as if from the heavens, it can be unnerving particularly when you discover that she can remotely turn your car off and collect extensive data on your driving behavior. The truth as I know it? All “secure” systems are hackable, including our cars (this video is at once amusing and frightening).
James Clapper, outgoing Director of National Intelligence, declared cyberattacks as the number one security threat to the United States in Congressional testimony last year. He is hardly alone in this appeal to the priorities of the US Congress and Presidency. A recent classified CIA report concluded that Russia hacked the computers of the Democratic National Party and other political organizations in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election. The entire world is standing at attention. Now could not be a better time to revisit the topic of cybersecurity in your classroom, if you have not recently.
Cybersecurity Infographic Scavenger Hunt
Lest you accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist, I should explain that gravitating to news stories about our country’s cyber insecurity has become a professional preoccupation of mine as I’m presently serving as the technical lead for an evaluation of a cybersecurity research program. Given this preoccupation, I’ve rounded up a number of cybersecurity infographics. Send your students on an infographic scavenger hunt to begin to explore the answers to some of the key questions that they should be asking themselves in the modern digital age:
- How secure is my personal data in the cloud?
- How secure are my social media accounts?
- Why is my computer running slowly?
- What are some of the most common passwords? Is my password secure?
- What are some of the top threats to the digital world in 2017?
- Is there such a thing as online privacy?
- Who’s watching me when I’m online?
- How safe is public Wi-Fi?
- Am I a target for hackers?
- How can I defend myself against cybercrime?
- How do cyber professionals protect the public, government and business?
- Should I consider a career in cybersecurity?
Dr. Lauren Amos is Associate Director for Research and Evaluation at the Manhattan Strategy Group, where she specializes in the study of teaching, learning, and interventions designed to increase access to STEM education and other academic opportunities for underrepresented minority, economically disadvantaged, and incarcerated students across the K‐ 16 continuum. Her teaching background includes middle school computer science and humanities, K-8 computer literacy, and postsecondary web and database development. She has conducted professional development workshops on computer-supported project-based learning environments and has authored various humanities and social studies curricula that integrate the use of technology such as agent-based modeling environments to support inquiry-based teaching at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels.
**IMAGE SOURCES: Survey says! These are the hottest security certifications, most in-demand skills (Cybrary); How to become a hacker (Schools.com); Why the US Needs More Cyber Security Professionals (Norwich University); So You Want to Work in Cybersecurity (StaySafeOnline.org); Hacker Hunters In-Demand (Visually)