Cybersecurity Training Resources
By Thomas Holt Russell
The advent of the coronavirus has left many educators and students scrambling to access, or to provide, comprehensive cybersecurity training that can be done from home using the available applications and resources. The resources mentioned here can be used by teachers to train themselves or make a curriculum for the coming fall.
For students that want to keep busy by sharpening their cyber skills, there is enough material from these websites that will keep you busy until next September. Quality training is not always easy to find. However, there are many resources on the Web that gives excellent training material that can easily be used outside the traditional classroom setting. Many people are spending more time at home with their personal computers. This is an opportunity to access free cybersecurity training. And on top of that, you can learn something if you have the time and patience.
I will start with the tools for a teacher. Many teachers are teaching online presently. Some of the material and the curriculum they were using in class may not have been easily transferable for online teaching. For others who are just looking for good websites where they can be introduced to cybersecurity or enhance the knowledge they already possess, these websites will also be a benefit. The material and training provided by these sites are free.
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) is a great place to start for all educators. Through their National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), they provide STEM and computer science curriculum for K-12 educators. The excellent news about this offering is that they practice something that I believe in: Project-Based Learning. As an educator, my experience has taught me that project-based learning is the best way to teach any STEM course. This NICCS curriculum is only available to teachers. This would be my first stop for teachers, who can visit https://niccs.us-cert.gov/formal-education/integrating-cybersecurity-classroom
SAN Cyber Aces at https://tutorials.cyberaces.org/tutorials.html provides free online cybersecurity training in three modules: networking, operating systems, and system administration. This by far is the most comprehensive video-based instruction. For cyber professionals or those who would like to pursue cybersecurity as a career, this is a great place to start. For teachers, some of the material can be used to base a curriculum on.
CyberPatriot is the world’s most significant middle and high school cybersecurity competition. Even though they do not provide training, they provide the best resources of any website. The resources they provide are enough to cover two semesters of school, depending on how it is presented. It also saves time by having a one-stop research site. For teachers who want to have an excellent place to collect information to start a new cybersecurity class, this website is a perfect place, https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/. No membership to CyberPatriot is needed to access the resources.
The National Cyber Security Center (NCC) offers free training to students who become members of the NCC’s Student Alliance. The purpose of the Student Alliance is to enhance student cybersecurity awareness through contextual instruction, leadership, and personal development, as well as using applied learning in real-world applications. This is accomplished through summer camps, seminars, and online instruction.
Editor’s note: Thomas Holt Russell is the Cyber Education Program Manager for the National Cybersecurity Center. He received the 2020 Cyber Education Administrator of the Year award and wrote the book Binary Society. For more information, email, email@example.com. To learn more about the National Cybersecurity Center and the Student Alliance, visit https://cyber-center.org/.