While we tend to think of our mobile phones and our computers when someone mentions cybersecurity, every aspect of life in the 21st century is supported by cyber infrastructure. Cyber infrastructure includes the transportation, healthcare, electrical power, water, and other critical systems necessary to sustain modern public life.

In an effort to raise awareness and engage the public about cybersecurity, November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience month. The events are a collaborative effort between the Department of Homeland Security and its public and private partners. NCSAM events and resources are designed to raise awareness about the vital role cybersecurity, to provide the tools needed to stay safe online, and to raise awareness about careers in cybersecurity.

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Today, in the United States, there are over 500,000 job openings in information technology related fields such as cybersecurity. The average IT-related job typically earns salaries at least 50 percent higher than the average private sector job. Job prospects for the future are also very good—according to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers.

Cybersecurity Now Touches Everyone’s Life

As cybersecurity awareness grows, high schools are expanding offerings for students interested in the burgeoning field. High school cybersecurity programs typically focus on certifications for cybersecurity such as CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. Cybersecurity programs offer students an opportunity to learn about information security and vulnerabilities such as distributed denial of service attacks, phishing attacks, malware, viruses, and ransomware, among other topics.

Students who obtain these certifications often aspire to advanced professional credentials such as Certified Ethical Hacker and related credentials for those who know how to hack systems but use their skills to protect rather than threaten cyber systems.

If you would like to learn more about what you and your students can do to protect cyber systems, check out the Stop.Think.Connect Toolkit. The Toolkit from the NCSAM is filled with tips, fact sheets, and shareable resources: www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit.

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Jim Brazell

Jim Brazell

CTE Specialist