Want to be the hero who saves the day?
If you want to be a “white hat” hacker, also called an ethical hacker, several schools and universities are rolling out cyber security programs to help fill the demand in this burgeoning field.
High school kids can get a head start. There are numerous programs to help high schoolers learn about cyber security, gain experience for potential summer internships, and enhance college applications.
Hacker High School
Hacker Highschool provides a set of free hands-on, e-book lessons designed specifically for teens to learn cyber security and critical Internet skills. These are lessons that challenge teens to be as resourceful and creative as hackers with topics like safe Internet use, web privacy, online research techniques, network security, and even dealing with cyber-bullies. The full program contains teaching materials in multiple languages, physical books with additional lessons, and back-end support for high school teachers and home schooling parents.
The non-profit ISECOM researches and produces the Hacker Highschool Project as a series of lesson workbooks written and translated by the combined efforts of volunteers world wide. The result of this research are books based on how teens learn best and what they need to know to be better hackers, better students, and better people.
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a partnership between government, academia, and the private sector focused on cyber security education, training, and workforce development. They publish a number of resources worth checking out.
Introduction to Computer Viruses and "Threatsaurus"
A good starting point for students who may not be ready for a structured program (yet) is Sophos' introduction to computer viruses and online threatsaurus -- a primer on cyber threat terms.
A complete read through the A to Z threatsaurus concludes with safety tips on how to avoid hoaxes, viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware -- how to avoid phishing schemes -- how to choose secure passwords -- and then some topics for actual cyber pros. Some of this is advanced reading material for high school students, but they can stop at any point.
Glimpse Into The Cyber Security Job Market
For high schoolers and parents wondering about career opportunities – the Bureau of Labor Statistics states “Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.”