An international coalition of four countries—Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—are teaming up to shine a spotlight on cyber threats that affect governments and schools.
“Internet-users worldwide are targets of cybercrime and other malicious cyber threats that can cost trillions of dollars each year and compromise sensitive, personal data,” the White House said in a statement. “Many cyberattacks can be guarded against by simple preventative measures.”
Education—including at the K-12 level—will be a key part of the work. Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science education, will release a video series that educators can use to help kids learn about cyberthreats. The initiative’s website links to other resources for students created by federal agencies, including Kahoot quizzes on cybersecurity and similar topics.
There’s also a cybersecurity checklist schools can use with staff or students. It advises tech users to think before clicking, use a password manager, enable multi-factor authentication, lock devices, back up files, delete unused apps, and avoid using public WiFi and charging stations.
There are specific tips listed for children, too. The checklist advises kids to take care of their tech, only download apps if a parent or teacher says they are safe, and not to give out their personal information.
Other educational resources may be released over the next couple of months, in advance of the culmination of the initiative, scheduled for April 10-12.
The initiative comes as K-12 schools—including the nation’s second largest, Los Angeles Unified—have been hit by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. It’s a growing problem that’s now tougher to tackle as districts lean further into the use of technology for teaching and learning and school management, and as cyber criminals get craftier.