teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber security

New virtual cyber school gives teens chance to try out as cyber security agents

teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber security

Thousands of young people are being offered the chance to join a virtual cyber security school as part of plans to make sure the country develops the next generation of professional cyber defenders.

At a time when schools remain closed to most children, the online initiative aims to inspire future talent to work in the cyber security sector and give students a variety of extracurricular activities to do from the safety of their homes.

Teens can learn how to crack codes, fix security flaws and dissect criminals’ digital trails while progressing through the game as a cyber agent. This will help them develop important skills needed for future jobs, particularly in cyber security.

The school provides free weekly webinars run by industry experts teaching fundamental security disciplines such as digital forensics, cryptography and operating systems.

Speaking about the initiative, Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said, "This new initiative will give teenagers something fun and educational to do from home and provide them with a glimpse into the life of a cyber security professional."

"We have a world-leading cyber sector which plays a crucial role protecting the country and our digital economy, so it is absolutely vital we continue to inspire the next generation of tech talent to help maintain the UK’s strong position."

The move comes as the government announces a number of other online training courses to give UK school pupils the opportunity to learn and develop cyber security skills, including the launch of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) hugely popular CyberFirst summer courses. The courses are moving online this year to help more than a thousand 14 to 17-year-olds develop important cyber skills from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Enrolled students will learn how to code and carry out cybersecurity operations in an instructor-led virtual classroom to help guide the students through the programme and build a sense of camaraderie within each cohort.

The National Crime Agency and Cyber Security Challenge UK will also this week announce teenagers can access their online cyber skills platform CyberLand for free during the coming months. In the game designed to teach teenagers the fundamentals of cyber security, players protect the virtual city ‘CyberLand’ from cyber attacks while learning key skills.

Adding his thoughts, Computer science teacher & EdTech evangelist Mark Martin said, "This is a great initiative to encourage young people to consider future careers in cyber security and see that they can have a tech job keeping people safe online."

"The virtual cyber school will help students learn valuable skills needed to work in the industry in a fun and entertaining way."

"I encourage teachers to share these programmes with their students as a productive activity to do in their spare time from home."