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Cybersecurity must be taught to schoolchildren–advocate

In Photo: This September 9 photo shows Angel Averia, Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (Pcert ) president, during an interview at Greenbelt, Makati City. Averia and Pcert are advocating for the inclusion of cybersecurity as a lesson taught among schoolchildren.

CYBERSECURITY should be taught in schools as today’s young generations cannot live without Internet connection in the future, Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team President Angel Averia said last week.

The number of kids who are online from home to school and to other public places through mobile devices, like laptop, tablet and phone is growing, Averia said in an exclusive interview in Makati City.

Some schools even allow the use of technology to facilitate learning as children are even allowed to bring mobile devices as classroom tools, he explained. “In some schools, kids practically do not carry books anymore. They connect to the school network and get their assignments off the Internet.”

Outside home and school, where students spend hours online, parents have no access to monitor their children’s online security, Aberia noted. Even at home, parents who do not understand cybersecurity cannot safeguard their children from online threats, he added.

As early as in grade school, kids should be instructed on basic online security, like secured response to electronic mails and posts from unknown sources, Averia said.  Personal information, like home address, phone number and whereabouts, on social media can expose vulnerability, he added.

“Never open an e-mail from unknown sources,” Averia cautioned. “And even if you know the person who sent it, don’t click quickly. You are not sure he’s the one who really sent the e-mail.”

According to Averia, some e-mails have uniform resource locators that can mislead kids in the Internet and bring them to a pornography or a “child grooming” web site.

Child grooming is “basically a social-engineering approach used by pedophiles to develop relationship with minors,” Averia said, noting that the Philippines is one of the top sources for child abuse materials in the worldwide Web.

The kids should be taught that “anything they post remains in the Web,” he said. Data put in social media, e-mail and blog will remain “even if you delete them” and “may haunt you in the future.”

In fact,human-resources managers today probe online to profile job applicants, he said. “Any disagreeable post can be a basis for the rejection of job application.”

Online security integrated into formal education may start from the basic and gradually advance to higher levels of Internet use security, Averia said.

The Department of Education has to understand the soonest time the relevance of cybersecurity to the formation of the young in this cyber age, he said.

“They may fall prey to shadowy individuals in the net,” Averia said.

Meanwhile, Angel Redoble, Philippine Institute of Cyber Security Professionals president, also advocate integration of cybersecurity into formal education.

In a society where the Internet has become indispensable, industries and consumers should be educated and safeguarded cybernetically, Redoble said in a separate interview. There is no way to go but to embrace and rise above the challenges of a connected life, he added.

Image credits: Oliver Samson

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