Why is cybersecurity so important?
Who is impacted by this security information? Is cybersecurity training just for tech experts?
When should we explain the relevance of cyber to a wider audience?
What concepts are vital for all K-12 and university students to learn?
Where can educators go for ideas to make important cyber concepts engaging and memorable?
Bottom line: How can we teach cybersecurity concepts with maximum impact and benefit to society?
Answering these questions is just part of the material covered by Daniel Shoemaker, Ken Sigler and Tamara Shoemaker in Teaching Cybersecurity: A Handbook for Teaching the Cybersecurity Body of Knowledge in a Conventional Classroom, published by CRC Press.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book is different from any other I’ve read in a variety of ways. For starters, it reads like a story. Tom, a newly tenured high school IT instructor, works with Lucy, a new middle school IT instructor, to create a cybersecurity course for all of their schools’ students.
To get trustworthy advice, they turn to Doc Brown, a mentor of Tom’s and a very good choice for someone to guide them through numerous cybersecurity topics. That excellent material is presented in the form of questions and answers that flow naturally from great questions about technology, protecting data, privacy topics and much more.
Second, the book offers pictures, fun exercises and practical advice on a wide range of cyber issues and questions.
Topics covered include (see details under each topic at the link):
- Why You Should Read This Book
- Getting Down to Business: Data Security
- Software Security: Software Underlies Everything
- Component Security: It All Starts With Components
- Connection Security
- System Security: Assembling the Parts Into a Useful Whole
- Human Security: Human-Centered Threats
- Organizational Security: Introduction to Securing the Enterprise
- Societal Security: Security and Society
Third, the book is packed with other great content, such as a foreword by high school cybersecurity and IT teacher Allen Stubblefield and a glossary of important cybersecurity terms.
Fourth, it is really a fun book to read. The questions and answers and dialog do not read like a typical cybersecurity book. They really bring this topic alive in helpful ways that readers will enjoy.
Fifth, and perhaps most important to me, the authors are cybersecurity experts and have incredible experience in actually training young students in life-changing ways. I have worked with Daniel and Tamara for more than a decade, and they have set the standard for teaching cybersecurity. (And now they have written a book with the same title.)
Dr. Daniel “Dan” Shoemaker has been a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy for almost four decades and has been the senior research scientist at the Center for Cyber Security and Intelligence Studies at University of Detroit Mercy for almost 20 years. He has written at least 14 books, and contributed to others, prior to co-authoring this one.
Tamara Shoemaker has been the co-founder and president of MCISSE CyberPatriot Page since 2006, which is an amazing organization, as described below. Tamara has also served as Auto-ISAC Cybersecurity Education and Training Leader and in other cyber leadership roles.
Back in 2019, I wrote a blog that covered how CyberPatriot Competitions Offer Answers to U.S. Cybersecurity Workforce Challenges. Through Dan and Tamara’s work with high schools and colleges in the Midwest over the past decade-plus, thousands of students have been trained in cybersecurity and many of them started cybersecurity careers. Dan and Tamara have championed the NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, and they have seen the need to start training students earlier and earlier in order to develop the skills to be successful in cyber careers.
As I started writing this blog, I reached out to Tamara to ask her for some words I could add on how readers could support their efforts after they read the book. Here is what she wrote to me:
“Dan and Tamara Shoemaker, on a mission for over two decades to boost cybersecurity expertise in Michigan! Dan, with 39 years at the helm of UDM’s CIS and Cybersecurity programs, is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer with 200-plus publications and 14 cybersecurity books. Tamara joined the cause, founding the Michigan CyberPatriot Program in 2015, inspiring students to join the cybersecurity field.
“Their grass-roots charity MCISSE supports their work on Michigan CyberPatriot Program, but it’s not without challenges. Working with students and volunteers is a blast, but fundraising is agonizing. Yet, once funded, the joy of supporting Michigan CyberPatriot events is unparalleled.
“Support is crucial for two major events: State Awards and Summer Camps. Help celebrate and encourage nearly 200 students at the State Awards ceremony, featuring top cybersecurity pros and officials. The Summer Camps, with 200-plus students annually, consistently surpass national averages for female participation, fostering cybersecurity skills over five half-days.
“Funding is vital, but so are technical mentors. Volunteers, no need to be cybersecurity experts, just bring IT know-how and a passion for mentoring. Let’s tackle the shortage of cybersecurity pros and ensure a future pipeline. Join the game and support Michigan CyberPatriot — the future is counting on it! #CybersecurityHeroes #MichiganCyberPatriot
“MCISSE accepts donations for the program. We are a 501 (3)(c) corporation; all donations are tax-deductible. There are a variety of sponsorship options available for your company to support the Michigan CyberPatriot Program. Customizable sponsorship options are available by contacting Tamara Shoemaker at email@example.com or calling 313-804-0544.”
I read the book Teaching Cybersecurity and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a must read for anyone teaching students the cybersecurity basics, but is also a good read for others who are interested in the topic and possibly helping to educate our next generation of cyber leaders.
For the creativity, cyber topics covered and overall value for training teachers in how to impart this material to students, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.