By: Emma Schroeder
What is the kernel of the issue?
Cyber literacy, the ability to use cyber-connected technologies and understand the consequences of their use, must be framed by the United States government as a national security priority. Currently, the US is not promoting a healthy and equitable level of cyber literacy, which would improve the cybersecurity posture of its citizens, private companies and organizations, and public sector entities.
Why is the issue important?
We increasingly ‘live’ in cyberspace – it is where we get entertainment, access our finances, and, increasingly during the COVID-19 pandemic, work and learn. The ease of access to the cyber domain, however, can obfuscate its insecurity. Users require both a baseline of cyber skills and a better understanding of how to navigate and place trust within the cyber domain. We are all sitting on a shore with our legs dangling in the water, but we need to make sure everyone can swim.
What is the recommendation?
The Biden administration should build on programs like the Department of Education’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s cyber education and awareness efforts, to expand cyber literacy. The administration should bolster these programs by promoting equitable access to technology and cyber education by prioritizing investment in cyber skill classes, equipment, and educators at schools and libraries to help build digital natives and train digital immigrants. Improving cyber literacy will also require significant digital infrastructure investment, including expanding broadband access as the administration has planned, to ensure that people in all communities have access and experience in this crucial domain.