The internet and digital technologies are transforming our society by driving economic growth, connecting people and providing new ways to communicate and co-operate with one another. However, the rise of the internet has led to the rise of cybercrime, such as identity theft, fraud, and blackmail within our communities.
There is a current skills shortage in the field of cyber security to defend against cyber-attacks. It is believed that education is key to addressing the skills gap. The new National Progression Award (NPA) in Cyber Security has stemmed from the need to address the growing rise in easily preventable cybercrime. This award is designed to raise awareness of cyber security and fill the current skills gap in this field. It will encourage learners to improve their cyber hygiene and enable them to identify security weakness safely, legally and ethically. It will also help learners to contribute more safely to virtual communities.
Ethics and the law are fundamental aspects of these awards. Ethical considerations are included in every component unit, and legislative considerations are included in all appropriate Units. The aim of the awards is to produce knowledgeable and skilled individuals who are aware of the potential misuses of, and unauthorised access to, computer systems but who use these competences for legal and ethical purposes.
The NPA in Cyber Security provide foundation knowledge and skills in data security, digital forensics and ethical hacking.
: The specific aim of the Data Security Units is to place data security within the context of the real world and explore current practice in corporate data security. This includes the legal and ethical considerations, and the practical methods to protect personal and corporate data. The Units will introduce the concepts around personal and corporate data security, including aspects of legal and ethical obligations.
The Digital Forensics Units are designed to develop knowledge and skills in digital forensics examination. Learners will gain knowledge of the principles and the integrity of the process involved in forensically examining digital evidence; they will gain practical skills in identifying evidential sources across a range of digital devices and mediums. Using these sources of evidence, learners will then analyse and interpret data, its relevancy to an enquiry under investigation and the subsequent reporting of that information.
: The purpose of the Ethical Hacking Units is to develop a competent understanding of tools and techniques used by malicious and ethical hackers. Learners will gain an understanding of the potential threats and tools that can be used by malicious hackers to target individuals and organisations. By the end of this Unit, learners will have the ability to implement techniques and technologies used to defend systems from attack and evaluate the Scottish, UK and EU legislation and ethics of hacking.
This NPA course is intended for learners wishing to develop and enhance cyber skills to support learning across a wide range of curricular areas whilst raising awareness of security responsibilities. It is open to all pupils regardless of previous experience.
Assessment of the Cyber Security NPA will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed- and open-book assessment conditions. All assessment is completed in class: there is no final exam.
The award is issued on successful completion of all three units of the course. Since the award has no final exam, successful completion of the award is graded as a pass.
On completion of each award, learners may progress to one of a number of further qualifications in this, or a related, area. This qualification is available at three levels and learners may progress to the next level if they wish to continue their studies. There are also opportunities to progress to related Higher National or degree courses. This award may also lead to employment in a computer security role. The number, and nature, of job roles in this field are growing fast and it is hoped that this award will be a springboard to a career in computer security.