With schools and many summer camps canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, students stuck with remote learning now have another option: cybersecurity training.

Britain’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the U.S.-based SANS Institute have teamed up to offer an online program that trains students in the foundations of cybersecurity.

The program is free to any student ages 13-18 in the United Kingdom for the summer months, and $100 a year in the U.S.

As part of Cyber Discovery‘s Virtual Cyber School, kids are able to try over 200 cybersecurity challenges based around cracking codes used by hackers, finding and fixing security flaws on webpages and dissecting digital trails left behind by cybercriminals.

Through playing, young people will learn the concepts and ideas that real agents use when dealing with real cyberattacks.

“The rich narrative, highly designed challenges and user-centric progress system is designed to enable a student to work through the challenges at their own pace, without the need of a teacher or anyone who has a background in cyber security” Virtual Cyber School says on its website.

The program also offers teacher-led sessions and weekly webinars from information security experts, who teach security disciplines including digital forensics, cryptography and operating systems.

Nearly 8,000 middle school and high school students have already enrolled in the virtual school since it was announced a little more than two weeks ago, CNN reported. Overall, the group is expecting about 20,000 participants, who will go at their own pace.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 32 percent increase in entry-level information security analyst jobs from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.


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