Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Picks of the Week | Cybersecurity Education for Children and The Battle Against Extremists

Cybersecurity Education K Through Life

Growing Up in a Connected World | Fraud Avengers

Security Education K Through Life | Dark Reading

Professionalizing Cybersecurity: A path to universal standards and status | Pell Center

The bottom line with cybersecurity is that no country, industry, community, or individual will ever be fully secure against cyber risks. This is because we simply cannot eliminate all the vulnerabilities inherent to a realm as vast as cyberspace—which is growing exponentially larger ever day. Cyber threats, if anything, will continue to intensify and multiply as hackers and cyber criminals embrace their attractive ratio of low-entry costs and high reward potential. To counter these threats, we must do a better job of educating and training individuals on how to better protect themselves from malicious cyber activities, and who one day may join a much-needed cybersecurity workforce to build and manage secure, reliable digital infrastructure and effectively address a wide variety of vulnerabilities and cyber attacks before they happen.

Who are these people? They are at once close at hand and out of reach. Today, children are inundated with technology before they’ve even left the crib, but yet their cybersecurity training rarely comes at such a young age. We should be concerned about the countless hours that our children spend in front of a screen, but we should also be aware of how these devices—whether consoles, computers, tablets, or smartphones—allow strangers a pathway directly into their homes and open the door to the theft of sensitive, personal information.

In the same way we train children not to accept rides from strangers, we now must teach children from an early age, at home and at school, to protect their passwords, recognize bogus sites, and avoid phishing scams. Information security is a lesson that should be taught from kindergarten to college and beyond.  Although it is only one component in the fostering of a cyber-savvy population, education must be the first step in developing a cadre of future cybersecurity professionals and cyber-strategic leaders prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Despite the pressing need to educate future generations about cybersecurity, however, very few American schools and universities have added a cyber component to their programs. When it comes to scaling the education pipeline to meet the challenges facing the modern workplace, a lot remains to be done to fill the education gap. Unfortunately, we will never get to the workforce needed until the majority of schools and universities are teaching the basic skill sets required in the field and that this becomes part of a standardized core curriculum, just like basic history, math, and other basic courses. Cybersecurity, after all, is now part of everyday life! It is therefore critical that we start reaching children in their formative years, at the same time we are teaching them right from wrong, to teach them the basics of computer security and information technology that will inform the rest of their lives, regardless of the careers they choose.

As the most vulnerable segment of society, children must learn to protect themselves. Only if we start early, we can finally hope to develop a sufficient number of technologically-skilled and cyber-savvy professionals and build an effective pipeline of future cybersecurity employees. These in turn will also be better, more secure and resilient citizens, parents, and educators.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and a series of events and initiatives across the country are currently underway as part of the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign STOP. THINK. CONNECT. For more on how we can help educate and train children on cybersecurity matters, the Stay Safe Online Blog (official blog of the National Cyber Security Alliance) offers information, videos, and interviews on the topics of online safety, cyberbullying, and raising cyber savvy kids.- Francesca Spidalieri, Fellow for Cyber Leadership

Why We Fight

Exclusive: Washington Wants NATO Allies to Help Retrain the Iraqi Military | Foreign Policy

Siege Possible as ISIS Nears Strategic Town in Iraq | The New York Times

A Deadly Legacy in Iraq | The New York Times

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: wars are not about the breaking of organizations, they are about the breaking of will.  The fighters of ISIS have shown a tremendous amount of will—pressing their campaign in Kobane and Anbar even in the face of a sustained air campaign by the United States and its allies.

But that shouldn’t surprise anyone—extremists, by definition, are very strong-willed.

The good news is that the United States is beginning to find friends on the ground who match the extremists in will.  In and around Kobane, Kurdish fighters—including young women—have mounted a heroic defense.  In Iraq, some elements of the Iraqi military have begun to show greater operational effectiveness, even if the overall performance of Iraqi Defense Forces is troubling.

And this is where extreme-will and zeal undermines the effectiveness of ISIS fighters.  Public beheadings, mass executions, crucifixions have not cowed the people in ISIS’ path.  On the contrary, barbarism has steeled the resolve of people who realize now they must fight.  While some reports indicate that extremists flocked to the ISIS banner over the last several months attracted by the defiant violence of the militant group, that extreme violence has also attracted the combined air forces of the United States and its allies. – James Ludes, Executive Director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *