Teaching your Students about Security

 One of the best ways to help your students with digital citizenship is to demystify how computers work and how information is moved around the world.  Through this understanding, students lose a sense of perceived anonymity and gain a strong understanding of what is going on when they send that snap or tweet.

The following video does a great job of talking about how things work and is part of a series of computer science videos that can be used anytime to bring some of this learning to your students.

Some of the highlights of the video are about how passwords work.  A four-digit password is very easy for a computer to hack as there are only so many combinations.  Passwords with many characters and variety greatly expand that number making things more difficult for a computer to guess.  Beyond passwords, however, lives a world of encryption keys and decryption keys.  Just like your house, you need the key to get in the front door, and only the person that is supposed to be allowed to gain access should have the key.   Break-ins occur when a hacker finds another entrance to your data, usually from downloading software, agreeing to terms of service or simply clicking on a funny-looking email.  Each of these scenarios is designed to trick a person into letting them have the key and thereby get access to your information. 

More importantly, and not mentioned in the video is the terms of service that you are agreeing to when you download an app.  Allowing Facebook to be on your phone grants that company rights to much of the data that exists on that phone.  Anything that you share or pass around might not be private and it is a good thing to be aware of when you are downloading many different apps.  Much of the work being done in the government around privacy is addressing the limits that companies should have on your information.  The more you know about this the better you will be armed with the information needed to keep yourself safe!