girl scouts hikingThe Girl Scouts are perhaps best known for their awesome cookies, but like their brother organization, the Boy Scouts, the girls in uniform do a lot more than just that. For the past 105 years, both organizations have been issuing merit badges for camping, survival skills and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Recently, though, the Girl Scouts have taken steps to modernize their program. To accomplish that goal, they went to their 1.8 million members and asked them what sorts of new merit badges they’d like to see, and what new skills they would like to learn.

An overwhelming number of Girl Scouts responded, expressing an interest in various things relating to technology, which is how the new Cybersecurity Badge came to be.

Younger scouts will be able to earn the badge by demonstrating an understanding of cyberbullying, basic data security and protecting themselves online. Older scouts will be able to learn coding skills, create and setup firewalls, work their way around firewalls, and learn how to become White Hat hackers.

Over the next two years, a whole raft of new badges will be rolled out, most of them drawn from the suggestions given to them by the Girl Scouts themselves.

While this is an unconventional way of learning about cybersecurity, it’s a very welcome change. Too few people know enough about cybersecurity to mount a credible defense, and very few young people even give the issue much thought. If the Girl Scouts can help move the needle on this front and raise awareness, then good for them!

If we could only get more organizations across the nation to embrace the idea and start paying more attention to it, and reward those who learn about cybersecurity, imagine how much easier it would be to fend off an attack.

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