To help school children and young adults safely navigate the internet and encourage them to consider a career in cyber security, Commonwealth Bank has partnered with the University of Sydney’s Australian Cyber Academy (ACA) to launch the Schools Cyber Security Challenges.
Online safety is becoming an increasing concern for teachers and parents, with research indicating more than a third of those aged between 12 and 17 years are spending up to six hours a day online, outside of school hours.
The new Challenges teach students security fundamentals including the importance of being careful when sharing personal information online and on social networks. They also tackle more complex technical topics such as cryptography (encryptions or codes), ethical hacking and network security.
Commonwealth Bank’s Chief Digital Officer and acting Chief Information Security Officer, Pete Steel, said he hoped the Challenges would also encourage more students to consider careers in cyber security and make it easier for teachers to introduce and teach cyber skills in the classroom.
“Australia is facing a skills shortage in cyber security and we must all work together to inspire more young Australians to join the cyber workforce,” Mr Steel said.
“By launching programs like the Schools Cyber Security Challenges we are helping to equip students with the foundational STEM skills and cyber literacy they need to pursue careers in cyber security and technology, and ensure they are ready for the workforce of the future.”
Nationally, more than $400 million in potential revenue is being lost each year due to the shortage in cyber professionals and to meet predicted demand, Australia is forecast to need another 18,000 cyber security workers by 2026 (AustCyber, 2018).
The Challenges are available nationwide to all students in years 7 to 12, and are aligned to the national digital technologies curriculum. They have been developed by ACA, in partnership with CBA, AustCyber (Australian Cyber Security Growth Network), other major banks, and BT Global.
Students will be able to practise and develop their skills using true-to-life examples of security incidents and vulnerabilities provided by partner organisations.
In addition to supporting the Schools Cyber Security Challenge, Commonwealth Bank supports the development of cyber skills through a $1.6 million partnership with the University of NSW on SEC.edu, the annual CommBank Cyber Prize, and sponsoring the National Computer Science School (NCSS) and Girls’ Programming Network initiatives.