Today, with cybercrime continuing to grow exponentially, the world is in need of more efficacious, diverse, skilled cyber warriors. We need more professionals who, like you, view cybersecurity as a passion and have enthusiasm for the subject. In short, the world needs a new generation of cyber warriors.
In this Community I need not highlight how crucial cybersecurity is — all of us here already know how cybersecurity benefits society. But does our next generation know it? If we ask the younger generation, 'what's your dream, what do you want to become when you grow up?', not even once have I ever heard anyone saying I am interested in cybersecurity. The most they say is ethical hacking, that's maybe because it gives them an adrenaline rush to have hacked someone's secure system. But as we know, cybersecurity is far more than ethical hacking. As per a 2018 study by Education and Employers, cybersecurity is not among the popular career aspirations among the youths.
If youngsters are lacking interest in security, why do you think that is? The simple answer is that there is a lack of awareness among our next generation about promising opportunities in cybersecurity.
As the worldwide lockdown has led to online classes, kids have become tech-savvy and also more exposed to the dangerous world of cybercrime. It is now even more crucial than before to instill the implications of security breaches along with the role cybersecurity plays in securing our world. It's high time we highlight how Cyber Security Warriors are leading by example and the impact they are creating. Let us show our kids and the kids in our lives the great futures they may have in cybersecurity. If they want to make a difference, cybersecurity is among the best ways of securing the world. Let's make an impact on them at an early stage so that kids start to dream of becoming Cyber Security Warriors!
Today we have many great representations of Cyber Warriors to encourage the next generation. The need is to bring these examples to light and make sure they are seen. Maintaining awareness and knowledge of contemporary and evolving standards, practices, procedures, and methods is the key. We need to build trust in our younger generation so that they start seeing cybersecurity as a viable career option.
IBM Security Services has been working hard to build not only their own cyber workforce but also to amplify social awareness of cybercrime to our next generations. You can align with any of the below programs to inculcate awareness among the youth in your life.
IBMCyberDay4Girls program, developed in partnership with IBM Security and the Women in Security Excelling (WISE) business resource group at IBM, CyberDay4Girls brings cyber-security awareness to preteen and teenage girls globally. The program is designed to help raise cyber-security awareness among our next generation cyber she warriors. Through this one-day program, girls learn how to protect their personal information and build a positive digital reputation. They are introduced to cybersecurity terminologies, such as phishing, malware, ransomware, etc, as well as security techniques like threat modeling and cryptography. Finally, the girls learn about careers in cybersecurity and have a chance to meet female role models in the industry, so that they can see what they can be!
IBMCyberWeekForFamilies is an online education program by IBM Security. It is a family activity to run with their kids (especially focus on teens between 12 and 14 years old) around cybersecurity education. The program was launched on 6th April 2020 with the three-day online education program covering areas like Identity Online and password protection, the importance of IoT, and introduction to cryptography. The program aims to inspire both girls and boys, opening their eyes to the world of possibilities in cybersecurity.
IBM University Ambassador Program is a volunteer-based program targeted at the collegiate level, mentoring students, strengthening their skills, and providing internship opportunities to them. Utilizing this platform IBM employees interact with upcoming cyber warriors spreading cyber awareness enlightening our next generation towards the area they are passionate about, making them know how technologies are evolving. The programs also provide opportunities to students highly motivated in learning gen-next technologies to network, build professional bonding with IBM Experts and Technical Leaders. IBM Security Services is collaborating with universities in India to introduce cyber-security into their curriculum making wider outreach from their current mark of 20 universities.
IBM University Internships Program is the initiative towards collegiate to get to know about IBM Security, providing them internship opportunities with a 10 to 15-week time frame varying on regions. It's a chance to unleash the technical ingenuity and business acumen in the professional world. It helps our next generation work with a team of peers to develop a solution for a real-world challenge. Apart from that, there have also been weekly Friday sessions being organized for the interns to make them aware of Cyber Security buzz words and evolving security trends.
Along with these drivers, various additional initiatives are instigated to draw the interest of our youth, evangelizing them towards cybersecurity.
- Cyber Security Awareness drives for professors, following train the trainer model.
- Worldwide competitions like IBMHackChallenge2020 for youths offering plenty of incentives like IBM Skill Badges, free access to IBM Cloud, Prizes Per Person For Top Winning Teams.
- Interesting games/apps to secure the world via cyber-security awareness, like saving from phishing attacks, Cybersecurity Ops: Terminal video game!.
- Short videos highlighting Cyber Warriors and the great work they are doing.
- Supporting collaborative researches, for students who have a passion for finding solutions to cybersecurity problems plaguing society today.
Personally, I would like to shout out to all our Cyber Warriors — let us shape the future! Let us work together to enlighten our next-gen Super Heroes about the bright future they have in Cyber Security.
Additional activities we can do include:
- Corporate Field Trip: Why not invite out the young generation to visit at the corporate offices and have them feel about cybersecurity?
- In-house Practical Workshop: Rather than all theories, let's the youth relate to the real-world attacks and role played by cyber warriors to mitigate them.
- Online tech boot camp: Along with the awareness sessions online, tech boot camps can be organized which can help all remote educational institutes to get aligned.
- Animated movies: Short films/series can be made highlighting the super tech powers of Cyber warriors.
Friends, what do you think? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on this critical subject! Comment below on how we can better reach our youngsters. And now that we shared some of what IBM is doing, we'd love to hear about the great work and your associate organizations are doing to help groom our next generation. Let's work together to ensure tomorrow's security today! After all, "the future lies in the hands of the youth."