The National Crime Agency has partnered with nonprofit Cyber Security Challenge UK to offer free cyber skills training to 12-18 year-olds through their online platform ‘CyberLand’.
CyberLand is a virtual city game that lets 12-18 year-olds protect the city from a cyber-attack using various cyber security concepts such as firewall configuration and digital forensics. The game comes with 16 interactive exercises that allow teenagers to learn the basics of cyber security.
According to NCA, the main objective behind this initiative is “to offer young people the opportunity to develop cyber skills safely, mitigating the risk of them inadvertently committing cyber crime offences whilst online”.
“The age of individuals arrested by the NCA for cyber crime offences is often much younger than other crime types, with children as young as twelve having been known to engage in such offences. Analysis shows that teens with an interest in technology can drift into cyber criminality without having full knowledge of the law,” said Jim Stokley, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.
“Therefore, a key aim of this initiative is to offer young people the opportunity to develop cyber skills safely, mitigating the risk of them inadvertently committing cyber crime offences whilst online,” he added.
“As we collectively adjust to a new routine at home, we are delighted to continue to be able to support emerging cyber talent from all walks of life with the national launch of CyberLand. Now is the time for teens keen to develop their technical skill set, as well as those who have perhaps never considered pursuing STEM and other subjects in their education, to get a taste for an industry where there is huge demand and opportunity for young, fresh, diverse talent,” said Dr Robert Nowill, Chairman of Cyber Security Challenge UK.
DCMS gives youngsters free access to CyberStart game until 31st August
Earlier this month, the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) also announced the launch of a "free virtual cyber school" to let children and teenagers learn handy cyber skills from home. DCMS is offering youngsters free access to the CyberStart Game until 31st August and students need no prior experience in coding or computer science to join the game.
The CyberStart Game allows participants to learn how to crack codes, find security flaws and dissect criminals’ digital trails whilst playing as a cyber agent in a government Cyber Protection Agency. They can also learn the essential concepts and ideas cyber agents apply when dealing with the aftermath of real cyber attacks.
“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,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman.
”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,” he added.