Following the recent arrest of a 16 year old boy on suspicion of committing offences contrary to sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Some reports have suggested the arrest is linked to investigations into a series of hacking attacks on US intelligence and law enforcement personnel in late 2015. However UK authorities have neither confirmed nor denied a possible link between the two. For more on this story, follow this link.
As our computing curriculum raises the awareness of the potential of coding and programme development, do we need to get our heads around the issues that might arise? When I was younger, I can remember one of the arguments against national service was the fear that at the end of the set period, we would be unleashing a large group of young people on the world who were trained in combat skill and the threat that could bring into the community. Now in a world where cyber threats are an everyday issue for everyone, we are developing the computing skills of a larger and larger group of young people without making them aware of the issues and potential problems they could lay themselves open to if they followed ‘the dark side’ or even the potential employment available in this sector.
One way to start addressing this issue could be engage them in activities which educate them around the issues and show them the opportunities in the this sector as well as helping to address the shortfall that sector is experiencing. A good place to start is the to take a look at the resources available for free to schools at http://www.bigambition.co.uk/securefutures , http://www.techfutureclassroom.com/ or https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/. These sites have a range of activities that both staff and students may find interesting and provides a great opportunity to start discussing the issues around this aspect of computing.
NAACE and The Tech Partnership have also developed a free online course for staff to raise their awareness around this issue. As an organisation that promotes the best practice for online security we have partnered with Tech Partnership to help promote the material and to support schools addressing issues around this aspect including data protection and network security. To find out more about the training materials, follow this link.