Meet the Cyber Explorers

By Helen Marks. Posted

A new interactive skills platform aims to inspire students to follow a cybersecurity career path

Originally published in Hello World Issue 18: Cybersecurity, March 2022. All information true at the time of original publishing.

Cyber Explorers is a new platform aiming to help students develop fundamental skills and inspire them to follow a cybersecurity career path

In a rapidly evolving online world, it is imperative that cybersecurity is a pillar of young people’s education so that they can access the careers of the future and stay safe online. A new initiative from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) aims to support this by focusing on improving the diversity and career prospects of students who may want to explore a technical cybersecurity pathway.

Cyber Explorers is a free interactive skills and careers platform that launched in February and will complement the existing CyberFirst programme of activities led by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. Offering hands-on insights into how digital, computing, and cybersecurity skills are integral to exciting career paths, the platform aims to support teachers of students aged 11–14 by complementing learning objectives for Key Stage 3 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and S2/S3 in Scotland, and to further students’ independent learning.

Erika Lewis, director of cybersecurity and digital identity at DCMS, said, “Improving digital and cybersecurity skills is central to the success of the UK’s cyber strategy. We want to ensure that there is a sustained supply of diverse and high-quality individuals joining the cyber workforce in the future.”

The programme

The platform is set in a virtual city, and learners can select to join one of five characters on a journey through activities, quizzes, and challenges exploring the relevance and excitement of a cybersecurity education and career. Learners head towards the ultimate challenge — to save Cyber City from disaster by putting all the new skills they have learnt to good use.

The programme aims to develop fundamental skills in identifying and understanding threats and risks in digital environments. Equally as important, students also learn about what can be done to mitigate these risks. They will also be introduced to people who work in the industry and explore the strengths you need to be successful. Through interactive episodes, students will discover:

  • How to use technology safely

  • How to defend against malware

  • The principles in protecting the connected world through understanding basic networking concepts, their vulnerabilities, and the security controls used to defend them and the information they contain

  • How to secure devices and software by understanding the importance of updates and patches, sourcing safe software, and the secure configuration of applications

  • The role of access control from physical security through account types to authentication methods

Teachers can register students at cyberexplorers.co.uk. To find out more, email support@cyberexplorers.co.uk.


Example of a Cyber Explorer activity

In Cyber City, learners will meet AJ, a healthcare worker with a keen interest in AI. His team is testing a new robotic knee surgery system. But with all the equipment connected through computer networks and the internet, can AJ really be sure that everything is safe and secure?

During this action-packed episode, learners will learn about networks and how to protect them. They will be introduced to the concept of cryptography, while helping AJ to understand how firewalls work and how they are employed. No industry competitors will be stealing his team’s secrets!


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