Capital HS students study cybersecurity

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Capital HS students study cybersecurity
High school students study cybersecurity at classroom computersScott Le Duc’s Career and Technical Education classes at Capital High School have been a part of a cybersecurity research study sponsored by Portland State University (PSU). The study began in fall 2019 and will be completed six months later, finishing with a survey that examines the students’ knowledge and experience using the Yubikey. Le Duc has been teaching students what makes a strong password, as well as what “phishing” is and how to guard against it. Students were also provided with a USB device called a Yubikey from PSU. Yubikeys are a security tool used for hardware authentication. Le Duc describes them as, “like car keys for Google accounts.”

Le Duc’s students have been working in conjunction with CyberPDX, a program out of PSU. Le Duc’s classes are the first this university program has worked with. PSU Professor of Computer Science Wu-chang Feng says, “We are seeking to measure the impact this may have on their attitudes toward pursuing a cybersecurity degree or coursework.” PSU Sociology Professor Robert Liebman adds: “We think we are doing something new and important for U.S. research by studying students at Capital High School.” Le Duc is excited for this opportunity for his students. “We are a snapshot of Capital,” he says. The goal of this research is to strengthen students’ security practices and continue to improve the teaching of online security.

During Le Duc’s classes, he discussed with students real life examples of hackers succeeding in their attempts to access sensitive information. Le Duc emphasized the importance of keeping accounts safe and secure. “They realized that just having a password is not enough and that many people have the same password on many accounts, which leaves a person really susceptible to having numerous accounts compromised,” Le Duc said.

Like many career and technical education classes, the knowledge from these classes provides students with real-life applications that can be used throughout their lives.