DHS suggests teaching kindergarteners about cybersecurity

Parents, prepare yourselves for this one: your children will soon be learning cybersecurity as early as kindergarten. Words like “hacking,” “firewall,” “malware,” “virus” may be introduced to children’s vocabulary just as soon as they learn their ABC’s.

The importance of cyber security was recently taken to a new, extreme level as DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano suggested teaching children as young as five years old about data protection. In a new blog post, Napolitano described the grooming process to “develop the best and the brightest” future cyber talent to meet our nation’s needs for specialists in the security arena.

“At DHS, we’re working to develop the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity while fostering an environment for talented staff to grow in this field,” she wrote.

Extreme? Yes. Necessary? Definitely. DHS clearly struggles to accrue all of the talent to meet its cybersecurity needs as dangerous hacks continue to rise. The DHS recently remarked that American financial institutions and other sectors are “actively under attack.”

The Fall 2012 Cyberskills Task Force Report just came out, stating five objectives for the DHS to meet. Relative to the education system, objective III aims to “radically expand the pipeline of highly qualified candidates for technical mission-critical jobs through innovative partnerships with community colleges, universities, organizers of cyber competitions, and other federal agencies.”

The government’s interest and need for cybersecurity has become increasingly apparent, as other branches, the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, have been working on “Formal Cybersecurity Education Component.”

National Initiative for Cyber Education explains “Their mission is to bolster formal cybersecurity education programs encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education and vocational programs, with a focus on the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines to provide a pipeline of skilled workers for the private sector and government.”

Although it’s always been of paramount importance, cybersecurity has recently come to center stage and has been discussed by both parties in the upcoming election.

The Associated Press has reported on presidential candidates’ viewpoints on cybersecurity. President Barack Obama proposes federal agencies and businesses should exchange information about looming cyberthreats that can damage networks. Republican candidate Mitt Romney also supports the sharing of cyberthreats, but opposes giving the White House control over how the private sector decides to ensure network protection.

Though politicians and citizens may disagree on certain key issues surrounding cybersecurity, its importance is abundantly clear and its notoriety will only continue to rise as the industry expands.

Tiro Security, a leading IT Security staffing and solutions firm in Los Angeles, is here to educate and assist candidates and clients in this immense growing field.