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Scotland’s school children are being taught about ethical hacking and digital forensics as part of an online challenge designed to find the country’s next generation of cyber superheroes.

The hugely popular Discover Cyber Skills initiative, delivered by Skills Development Scotland, is entering its third and penultimate year on a high after smashing its launch targets.

Organisers initially hoped that 4000 people would complete the course by the end of its four-year run, yet after only two years nearly 40,000 have joined in with the computer-based fun, both online and through real world events held across Scotland.

In previous years, pupils gained hands on experience of cracking password encryptions, hacking a bank, and defending a hospital from a cyber-attack. All were designed to get the message across about the importance of online security for both personal safety reasons and as a career option.

This year’s online lessons will see children role play a cyber security consultant tasked with protecting a fictional pizza restaurant chain, as well as being introduced to a range of digital forensic techniques as they try to solve a murder case.

Claire Gillespie, Sector Manager for digital technologies at SDS, said: “The fact this programme has been so successful shows the message is getting through about the amazing career opportunities in Scotland’s digital technology sector. It also shows that these lessons are a very welcome addition to the school curriculum, which is brilliant to see.”

The lessons are free, with no previous computer experience or skills needed, and the most popular challenge will be rerun during Cyber Scotland Week in 2020 (17-23 February 2020).


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