Cybersecurity is becoming an ever-growing topic in schools to date, in teaching children the fundamental skills and knowledge of how to protect themselves online, as well as their identities.
There is a range of initiatives now which help to identify the trail-blazers, adventurers and those with the potential to be a cyber-detective now at early in-school classes, that involve classroom-based activities, as well as online interactive games.
Learning cybersecurity isn’t just about teachers and parents keeping an eye on their children, it is also about children looking out for each other.
Below is a list of our recommended resources for you and your family.
is a UK Government intelligence, security and cyber agency.
Puzzles for Spies Book
In 2022, GCHQ released a children’s book named Puzzles for Spies
which focuses on languages, engineering, codebreaking, analysis, maths and cybersecurity, as part of their on-going initiative to help inspire, grow confidence and form a new generation of codebreakers, engineers and mathematicians with the skills that are needed to later in life to gain employment at GCHQ through their graduate program, or through employment in the private sector in the field of cybersecurity.
The learning experience can be taught in classes or with parents using a provided lesson plan.
GCHQ has previously released two puzzle books for adults; The GCHQ Puzzle Book and the GCHQ Puzzle Book II
, with the aim of supporting neurodiversity in the cybersecurity industry.
GCHQ publishes a weekly brain-teaser puzzle
aimed at adults and families involving cryptic crosswords, rebus, and sayings/phrases.
In addition, to celebrate Alan Turing
being featured on the £50 banknote in 2021, GCHQ created their hardest challenge to date. The #TuringChallenge
, featuring puzzles and tips on social media.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
GCHQ is a pioneer of the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in security, bational defence and cybersecurity in enabling problem-solving and keeping the country safe in what is becoming a more and more complex world, in the face of ever-growing threats from foreign state disinformation and hostile actors.
GCHQ uses AI to analyse online chat rooms to search for evidence of online predators and malicious links and uses software to help keep children safe online.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
NCSC (as a part of GCHQ) serves as a single point of contact for the public and private sectors, and the general public to obtain information about cybersecurity practices such as zero-trust architecture
, and understanding data breaches
, and how to report and remediate cyber incidents and attacks
NCSC provides online interactive learning experiences through their CyberSprinters
initiative for school children to learn cybersecurity at home
or in school
, and practices to help keep them safe.
There are activities are aimed at 7-8 year olds
and 9-11 year olds
, and adventure stories
. They also provide guidance
for parents to support their children with the activities.
CyberFirst Girls Competition
NCSC runs a yearly program called CyberFirst Girls Competition
aimed at supporting girls who are interested in a career in cybersecurity, as part of their gender diversity
The competition is a nation-wide team event consisting of schools in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and is formed of two stages; the online qualifying round, and the 13 simultaneous finals held across the country.
National Crime Agency (NCA)
is UK’s leading crime agency to fight serious and organised crime. Often described as Britain's ‘FBI’, the NCA targets criminals who pose the greatest threat to the public and UK interests both at home and abroad.
Cyber Games UK
NCA provides Cyber Games UK
and Cyber Security Challenge UK
, as a resource for teachers
, parents and students
to learn and study about the Computer Misuse Act 1990
, and provides games
and learning materials
Cyber Security Challenge UK provides information
and interviews around Women in Cyber
, and a drive to obtain gender diversity in industry roles
NCA runs a yearly competition called the Cyber Choices Challenge
for students aged 11-18 to compete across the UK, testing their knowledge about the Computer Misuse Act.
STEMettes (Girls do STEM Too)
is an award-winning social initiative to inspire and empower women and girls into careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.
STEMettes runs regular events
across the UK, and has yearly STEM programmes
; most notably DeepMind
, and MI5, MI6, and GCHQ
CIA Spy Kids
The CIA provides fun games for children to play called Spy Kids
, including crosswords, codebreaking and puzzles.
To add a technical spin to this article! There are a number of code repositories made available through open-source licensing for developers to try out, and help improve:
- GCHQ - CyberChef is a web application for carrying out cyber operations such as encryption and decryption in a web browser.
- The UK Intelligence Community Design System (ICDS) is a quick and powerful platform to develop UI web application capabilities for the UK’s Intelligence Community.
- CISA - CSET is a cybersecurity evaluation tool.