The modern Girl Scout has a host of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) badges available for them to earn. October is Cybersecurity Month, and we took that opportunity to help our local Girl Scout Troop earn their CyberSecurity Basics badges.
What is CyberSecurity anyway?
Simply put, security is the different ways we stay safe. Locking our doors and wearing a helmet when riding our bike are every day examples. But what is Cyber? Cyber simply means online or on the internet.
CyberSecurity are the things we do to stay safe while online.
Being careful about apps we download, only talking to people we know in real life when on line, and password protecting our devices are just a few examples.
We then moved on to talking about what is the Internet, and how does it work? What are the Protocols that are used?
Protocols are a set of rules that tell you how something should be done.
We encounter protocols in every day life. For example, the protocol when we get into a car is to put on our seatbelt. The protocol when we're measuring brown sugar is to tamp it down into the measuring cup and pack it in. We stop our vehicles when a school bus is ahead of us with flashing red lights.
The internet has its own set of protocols to govern communications. Specifically we learned about TCP and IP (Transfer Control Protocol and Internet Protocol). TCP divides messages into smaller packets, sends them, and then reassembles them. IP uses numeric address to ensure that the sender's message gets properly delivered.
To help us understand TCP/IP, we made a simulation of the internet using lengths of yarn.
We broke a paper message into smaller pieces/packets to moved them across our web of yarn to simulate TCP/IP protocol sending our message back and forth to a website. We even experienced a hiccup where our packet got stuck on the yarn, delaying the message to the recipient web site. In real life we might see this as a glitch on a webpage loading.
Earning their CyberSecurity Basics badge means the girls are equipped with the skills to protect themselves and others online. They are empowered to be responsible digital citizens.
Most importantly, the girls had FUN while gaining a valuable understanding of the importance of cybersecurity and preparing to take on the challenges of the digital world.