Thursday, October 29, 2020
By Ashley Savageau, Palo Alto Networks Cyber A.C.E.S. Program
At Palo Alto Networks, we believe protecting our digital way of life is a privilege, and with that privilege, we strive to educate the world on all aspects of cybersecurity. Four years ago, we embarked on a project to help educate girls and diversify the future cybersecurity workforce through a partnership with Girl Scouts USA. We then decided to make similar content available to students across the globe.
That’s why the Cyber A.C.E.S. (Activities in Cybersecurity Education for Students) program was created. We aim to demystify cybersecurity through interactive learning, equipping kids ages 5 to 15 with an understanding of how to protect their digital future. Our employees that work day-to-day with emerging threats partnered closely with educators from Cyber.org (formerly NICERC), a leading cybersecurity education nonprofit organization, to develop the content.
About the Lesson Roadmap
Cyber A.C.E.S. provides the cybersecurity basics students need to have safer online experiences and become good digital citizens. Lessons are designed so they can be facilitated by anyone, regardless of their knowledge level, with each module tailored to a specific age group. They take around 45 minutes, but users can eliminate activities for shorter engagements or add information about their experience with technology to extend the time, as needed.
Lessons cover a wide variety of topics and each have two or three engaging activities to make the concepts real to students. The youngest students learn about physical security through matching items and the mechanisms that can secure them, while the oldest students learn cryptography through assembling a Caesar cipher and encoding messages.
Designed to be done “unplugged,” lessons can be completed with just a pen and paper. Eighty percent of the activities can easily translate to a virtual delivery, and Palo Alto Networks is working on updating the remaining 20%, as well as additional resources for facilitators. The lessons are written in a way that allows almost anyone with a basic understanding of technology to deliver the content to program participants; one does not need to work in the field or industry to help students stay safe. Lessons will soon be launched in Spanish, French, German and Japanese.
We strive to help promote the importance of cybersecurity education to younger generations and hope that your family, colleagues and community can benefit from learning how to safely interact with devices, websites and the internet at large.
If you or someone you know is interested in Cyber A.C.E.S., follow these steps to get started:
Get prepared: download and review the lessons at www.paloaltonetworks.com/cyberaces (Each lesson takes about 30 minutes to read. (We suggest using the Lesson Roadmap to zero in on one or two lessons that might be of most interest to your audience.)
Connect with students
Deliver the content
More to Explore
Check out these Fuel blog posts for further reading: