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Cyber Criminals: Have a ‘NICE’ Day!

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has launched a new interagency program to raise cybersecurity awareness and deepen knowledge across the country and citizens of all ages.

Called NICE, the cybersecurity program is a spinoff of the 2008 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which called for extending cybersecurity training throughout the federal government. The subsequent May 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review concurred and also recommended expanding cybersecurity education to all citizens, starting in kindergarten.

The NICE initiative recognizes that computer technology is an integral part of society and with that comes the need for everyone to be able to protect themselves and their private information when using the Internet and be able to trust all the other critical cyber infrastructure everyone depends on, said NIST’s Ernest L. McDuffie, head of the government-wide initiative.

“The program’s goal is to enhance the security of the country through enhanced awareness and education, which in turn will improve computer security in the workplace and at home, as well as prepare future employees for the cybersecurity workforce,” he said.

NICE is divided into four tracks, with the first one being National Cybersecurity Awareness led  by the Department of Homeland Security. Public-service campaigns will promote cybersecurity and responsible use of the Internet, encourage students to pursue careers in cybersecurity, and motivate interest in the topic among children.

The second track is Formal Cybersecurity Education, led by the Department of Education and the Office for Science and Technology Policy. Both will be in charge of reaching out and increasing knowledge and appreciation of cybersecurity across all levels of education, from kindergarten through college and vocational school.

The third section entails Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Structure, led by the Office of Personnel Management. The workforce team will define cybersecurity jobs in the federal government and skills and competencies required. It will also identify new strategies to ensure federal agencies attract, recruit and retain skilled employees to accomplish cybersecurity missions.

The last track is Cybersecurity Workforce Training and Professional Development, led by the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security. This track is divided into four areas that range from law enforcement and counterintelligence to general use of IT.

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