SY110: A Publicly Accessible College Level Introduction to CyberSecurity

by Nicole Shadowen

After a thoughtful discussion on CyberSecurity Education and Technology Panels at CyberSecurity TV, we learned about a publicly available, Intro to CyberSecurity course framework at the U.S. Naval Academy from two of our distinguished panelists, Ensign Zac Dannelly and Ensign Bill Young (both on their way to graduate programs at Cambridge & UVA respectively).  

This U.S. Naval Academy entry level CyberSecurity course is a comprehensive look into the current approaches, tools and techniques in the field, and a great place for students, or anyone, to get a feel for the CyberSecurity arena with curriculum covering the following: information assurance, digital data, the physical computer, operating systems, programs, the web, networks, firewalls, authentication and cryptography, and digital computer forensics.  At the Naval Academy, this class is required for all midshipmen, not just those majoring in the new CyberSecurity program.  Making the decision to open all course materials to the public, demonstrates a needed openness and sharing of top cyber related coursework that can be fully leveraged by all, thereby acknowledging the pervasiveness of technology in our lives and the necessary core security and performance principles.  

In my experience researching CyberSecurity graduate programs a few years ago, it struck me that some programs talked about cyber in a completely different way than others. Across the board in this space, academics, business people, and even CyberSecurity experts struggle with how to confront the subject and what lexicon to use consistently.  There are several contributing factors, but one of the main causes seems to be an unwillingness to share information. This space can be a scary place for people, and when they confront it or attempt solving problems around it - there has been a tendency to hoard information.  

Instead of hoarding, making knowledge or structured solutions public and accessible has the potential to create real, comprehensive understanding of the crimes we all face in the cyber arena and the best methods for protection.  SY110 represents a school's willingness to share not only the content, but structure of its CyberSecurity curriculum.  As other institutions follow the Naval Academy's lead and build on the information they have shared, more consistent and complete cyber course frameworks will result.  Eventually, CyberSecurity could necessarily be considered a core part of all curriculum, on down to grade school.  The result: more meaningful and less stressful interactions with the technologies that are increasingly integrated into our everyday lives.

 

Check out the Naval Academy course here!

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