Cybersecurity session links students to world

By Thomas Varney
As cyberspace increasingly becomes a fundamental facet of daily life, the need for ways to keep the average user safe from malicious intent is higher than ever.
This was the focus of a cyber-security conference that Baldwin High School hosted in December.
Participating from Baldwin’s LGI room were students from Thomas Jefferson and Baldwin’s AP World History class. Video links provided participation by other area schools, as well as those as distant as Roots Millennium School in Pakistan.
Cyber-security is a matter often left to politicians, but this time it was the students driving the discussion under the format of a world affairs meeting.
Philadelphia’s Temple University served as the communication hub and seat of the council’s presiding chair, while the conference’s moderator, Dr. Sokol of the World Affairs Council, participated from the LGI.
The conference consisted of three parts: the introductions, a Q&A session, and a role-playing period. Different groups of students would take on the role of different interest groups during individual presentations and role-playing. During the questioning period, the students would ask their own questions either to Phil Williams, a cyber-security expert, or to the conference’s Twitter page.
“I liked the live Twitter feed because you could get instant reactions from the other students,” said Matt Kuhn, one of the participating students.
Throughout the questioning, Williams shared many pieces of advice as to what average people can do to help their own personal cyber security.
From a hardware standpoint, Williams suggested buying a Mac, citing the inherent flaws in the Windows OS.
On the software front, among the more important tips was installation of several antivirus programs. Also, he advised students to often update security software, so personal antivirus programs stay up to date.
Questioning went on for most of the conference’s allotted time, and went smoothly other than a connection issue with a school from Austin, Texas.
Students said they enjoyed the conference, each having their own favorite section.
“I loved the parts where they split us up into different groups,” AP student Steven Evanovich said.
One critique offered by some students was the length of the Q&A session.
“As time went on, they began to repeat themselves,” sophomore Jill Weida said.
Teachers said they were happy with their students’ performances.
“I think they did well,” said Katie Temme, an AP World History teacher.