Helping create the next generation of cyber security experts

07 October 2014

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© Istock/PashaIgnatov

Professor Ian Brown, a Principal Investigator at the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the Oxford Martin School, has lent his expertise to a unique educational outreach project helping young citizen scientists get to grips with cyber security.

NOVA Labs is a new initiative from the NOVA science documentary series on American broadcast television network PBS. Over the past six months, Professor Brown has been advising NOVA on its Cyber Security Lab, an online game in which players discover how to keep their digital lives safe and develop an understanding of cyber threats and means of defence. Players advance by using computer coding, logical reasoning, critical thinking, and vulnerability detection to solve various problems, the same skills employed regularly by cybersecurity professionals.

The player takes on the role of the head of a company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks, but no cyber security or coding expertise is required in order for players to take part. As well as advising on the content of the game and answering player questions, Professor Brown and his fellow experts are profiled on the site to give insights into working in cyber securitty and advice on career choices.

The aim of the Cyber Security Lab is to give learners the opportunity to actively participate in the scientific process by visualising, analysing and sharing the same data that scientists use. The site is also home to advice for educators, video quizzes and a video library.