The British government is looking to get ahead of the cyberattacks that it is perpetually receiving by educating and training the next generation of Brits. What has come to be known as the Cyber Schools Program has been allotted 20 million GBP to teaching British teenagers the realities and pitfalls about national, corporate and personal cybersecurity. The program will address 6,000 student ages 14-18 years of age. The funds will be funneled into extracurricular clubs who are tasked with attracting and teaching these teenagers.
Some may find that spending millions of Pounds on teenagers may be a waste of time and money, but the government and especially Culture Minister Matt Hancock are keen on equipping the next generation with the knowledge necessary to keep themselves and, by extent, the entire nation safe. The government is not looking for a quick solution to cyberattacks with this program, but are playing a long game. Such programs will not only let them get the word out to the tech savvy youth who spend more time online than any other age group, but it also helps them identify talented individuals into which they can either inspire to reach greater heights, or more likely invest resources to be a force in the sector.
According to Britain’s electronic spy agency, the amount of cyberattacks that threatens the nation has been doubling on an almost annual basis. Due to the success or relative ease of penetration of such attacks, it is unlikely that the number of attempts will decrease any time soon. Then there is also the skills shortage that is looming in the horizon. While other nations around the globe are facing a trade skills shortage, it seems that Britain may be facing a tech skills shortage. According to the committee that tabled the Cyber Schools Program, a cyber skills shortage is one of the reason why Britain, in general, is having a tough time keeping up with the cyberattacks.
When faced with these reasons, it is easy to see why the government so willingly allotted 20 million British Pounds. They see that it is not just a talking and tutorial campaign. Yes, education is important, but so is the identification of talent and the inevitable addition of that individual to what seems like a shrinking pool of people who protect the country from malicious cybercriminals.
Very little else has been made known of the contents of the program or the date when it will be implemented. And while it may seem like an expensive gamble for some, it is a worthwhile risk to members of the Parliament. Today’s teenagers, after all, spend a disproportionate amount of time online that any other age group. Statistically, speaking they are at greater risk of being hacked or experiencing a breach. They represent vectors and avenues of attack for cybercriminals. Therefore, it is not only a good thing to arm this age group with the tools and information needed to identify and ward off these attacks, but may be essential for the future of the countries cyberdefense.
Article by David Share