The sooner kids learn cyber skills, the better. Photo: Shutterstock
A new Australian competition aiming to teach school-age children the fundamentals of cyber safety kicks off next month.
Created by non-profit IT skills education organisation Grok Academy, the Grok Cyber competition is free for all Australian school students in years 5 to 12.
Starting on 31 May, the two-week competition will have students finish 12 interactive problems to help them understand more about cyber risks, covering topics such as password strength, phishing, and security settings.
Grok Academy CEO James Curran said he’s keen on seeing all eligible Australian school students getting involved in the competition.
“We can all take steps to be more cyber secure in our day-to-day lives,” he said.
“The competition gives students real-world skills they can use straight away, as well as introducing them to a fast- growing and exciting industry they may work in one day.”
Grok Academy sees the competition as a way for schools to measure their overall cyber safety as they can receive overall results for how well their students fared during the competition.
After the competition comes the Grok Cyber Pursuit.
Designed for more advanced students, it takes the form of ‘capture the flag’-style problems similar to those used by cyber security professionals in training.
The cyber training schedule culminates in an in-person event in November during which qualifying school teams are invited to meet industry professionals and test their cyber skills with new scenarios.
From health care, to finance, to public transport, most facets of life now have the potential to be impacted by cyber security.
And it continues to be a skill area where employers are crying out for more talent.
Among Grok Academy’s partners for the program are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Commonwealth Bank who both said they hope to see more early education efforts help improve cyber safety.
Phil Rodrigues, head of security at AWS Australia, said the multinational was pleased to collaborate with Grok Academy.
“We believe this program will help to increase education for the next generation to build skills in cyber security,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Commonwealth Bank said people are at the heart of any security team.
“It is critical that we are all able to hire capable professionals that are committed to protecting our customers and the community,” they said.
“For that, we rely on a strong Australian cyber education sector and a vibrant and diverse cyber security workforce.”