Introducing Cyber Explorers Program

A 7-week high school program to kick start cybersecurity learning

Early Explorers on the Arctic (Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday, we kicked-off our high-school program called — Cyber Explorers. Our first pilot school is Santa Teresa high school in San Jose, CA. We are starting with a cohort of about 25–30 students, majority of whom are 9th and 11th graders.

Cyber Explorers is a 7-week immersive program aimed at introducing Cyber Security discipline to high school and middle school students. The program doesn’t assume any exposure to computers and computer science. The first 3 sessions are tabletop fun games and exercises introducing concepts of Cyber Security like Cryptography, Network Security, Defense in Depth, Incident Detection, Incident Response, et al. The students will start early in the program on a team project which could be a cybersecurity-related puzzle, poster or a project. This is a deliverable which students are expected to showcase in the Cyber Explorers finale — which would be attended by parents, teachers and potentially rest of the school. In the latter half of the program after a session on Ethics and signing of a displayable ethics pledge, we introduce hands-on exercises and threats which students will replicate in a lab environment. We start the labs with a gentle introduction to shell and operating systems and the drop into network security, log analysis and forensics.

Through the Cyber Explorers, we aim at having a strong industry partnership using guest lectures, hackathons and exposing students to career paths. One of the session labs will be tailored as a Cyber Patriots test — which will introduce students to the Cyber Patriots program and other relevant national initiatives. The program finale will showcase student work and projects to a broad audience. During the duration of the program, we will offer an extensive cybersecurity library, lab sim exercises and a raspberry pi based project lab environment. We strive to align this program to other industry efforts and also offer a hackathon.

As we go through the sessions we will post a blog entry on each session, feel free to follow along with our journey here on medium.