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Cyber hygiene and a youth-vote news cycle 🗞
The NSC and DOE are empowering young people to protect themselves and their peers online. Meanwhile, from Tennessee to Wisconsin, young people are making political headlines.
What is 'Cyber Hygiene'? Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies, Anne Neuberger, on empowering young people to protect themselves and their peers online
Our generation has come of age online, with an iPhone in hand. That's come with periodic reminders about how to protect ourselves and our data -- though I'd argue those are probably not frequent enough.
In an effort to empower young people to protect themselves and their peers online, the National Security Council and Department of Education held a cyber career panel for high school students in D.C. Tuesday as part of the "Quad Cyber Challenge" in partnership with Australia, Japan, and India.
The international effort comes as the US government is working to firm up cyber security at schools and for students. Beyond emphasizing the importance of practicing "cyber hygiene," as the NSC calls it, the event highlighted career paths in cyber security.
Ahead of Tuesday's panel and the launch of the cyber challenge, I had the opportunity to chat with Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies.
Neuberger said the challenge's “core message” is that “there’s so much you can do to prevent yourself from being hacked, and even if you’re hacked, to prevent yourself from being hurt."
“Our goal for this event was to say we know this stuff works, and yet we see many people and many organizations don’t do them… We want to get information out there in a way that’s easy to understand, and make it fun and cool and easy to practice,” Neuberger said.
“The bottom line is you can be safe online. Yes, you hear about all these frightening data theft attacks, but there are things that each of us can do to be safe online. The goal of the challenge is making best safety practices easily available,” she added.
According to the department, there are practices each young person (and really all people) can take to help prevent malicious activity.
Patch -- which really means just making sure you're constantly updating your software to address any holes or bugs in prior downloads
Back up your data -- so that if your data is compromised, you have the important stuff
Encrypt your data -- so that if it is attacked, it's protected
Introducing the panel on Tuesday, Neuberger said there are over 51,000 people participating in the cyber Quad challenge program. She emphasized that as today's students grow into roles across sectors and in the cyber community, “it will be the work of a generation," to ensure we are all protected.
The youth-focused news cycle — and why there will be more of them
There has been no shortage of youth-focused political headlines this week. Young people were paramount in the gun safety protests that ultimately led to the expulsion (and then reinstatement) of Tennessee’s two youngest Black lawmakers, Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. And data shows how young organizers, and thus young voters, helped catapult liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz to victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
As Politico’s Eli Stoklos and Lauren Egan wrote earlier this week, “If there was ever a news cycle engineered in a lab to animate younger voters — and harden their antipathy toward Republicans — it probably would look like the one we’re living in now.”
Here are a few of this week’s youth vote headlines:
How Wisconsin liberals set record campus turnout in court election, Dan Balz and Dylan Wells for The Washington Post
Kellyanne Conway said Democrats could turn the youth vote into a 'turnout machine,' warning the GOP shouldn't just 'wait for the young to get old', Grace Eliza Goodwin and John L. Dorman for Insider
A Week of Youthful Activism Sends Out Political Shockwaves, Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times
As we’ve seen for years, young Americans continue to take action on issues that matter to them, whether that’s fighting for gun safety, protecting democracy, advocating for racial justice, or reproductive healthcare access — it’s why I started The Up and Up.
So while this week’s political news cycle may have been particularly energizing for young people, as Gen Z continues to grow and recognize its political power, I’d argue that every news cycle could become a youth vote news cycle.