Public Education Around Cyber Security

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Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently raised the issue of cyber security education during a Washington D.C. speech. The intention behind such a sentiment is a good one. Teaching cyber security to the public, and making it a part of the education curriculum is essentially a public safety lesson akin to ‘Don’t Do Drugs,’ ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’, and ‘Be Alert And Aware Of Your Surroundings.’

However, as a society we are at a crossroads where our children have vastly more knowledge of the cyber landscape than adults. Teachers still struggle with computer basics while students are hacking the schools’ computer systems to change their grades, create DDoS attacks on the day of critical testing, and worse.

If the Australian government wishes to be effecting in a public safety education campaign around the risks of cyber-attack, they must first both educate and protect themselves from such possibilities.  Education must begin internally before it can be successful externally.  To do otherwise will feel like whitewash and just invite new hackers to attack the government with more frequency and fervor.

Group of computer neatly placed in a computer lab.

[You might also like: School Networks Getting Hacked – Is It the Students’ Fault?]

Here are some layman’s explanations of the various cyber-attacks:

  • DDoS:  Denial of Service attack. As the prime minister stated, “equivalent to having a bus block a driveway so a car can’t get out, while a hack means someone breaking into a garage and stealing the car.”
  • Encrypted Attack: an encrypted attack as a thief posing as a family member breaking into your house and stealing your jewelry
  • Ransomware is like having all your data (phone, computer, all your records, everything digital) kidnapped and held for ransom.
  • DDoS for Ransom Is when someone tells a business to ‘pay up or else’ we will take your digital presence offline.
  • SQL Injection: Like someone breaking into the bank and stealing all its customers’ safe deposit boxes

These are just a few of the ‘new vector’ complex cyber-attack methodologies. Until businesses and Government become fully educated and protect themselves against such attacks then incidents such as the recent Census attack will be all too frequent. To learn more about how to protect yourself, check out our blog “5 Recipes for How to Design a Resilient Cyber-Attack Environment.

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