CyberPatriot is the Air Force Association's National Youth Cyber Education Program, created to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. The CyberPatriot Programs are:
At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Through a series of online competition rounds, teams are given a set of virtual operating systems and are tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services. The top teams in the nation earn all-expenses-paid trips to Maryland for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.
Held during the summer months, AFA CyberCamps emphasize fun, hands-on learning of cybersecurity principles that are relevant and applicable to everyday life. Though camps, students learn the importance of cyber safety and how to protect their personal devices and information from outside threats. Standard AFA CyberCamps teach beginner students the basics of cybersecurity, while Advanced AFA CyberCamps incorporate more complex concepts geared towards students who have previously participated in a camp or in the cyber defense competition.
The CyberPatriot Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (ESCEI) is a set of three interactive learning modules aimed at increasing the awareness of online safety and cybersecurity principles for K-6 students. The modules, which are available for download at no cost, can be presented in a classroom setting or at home. Supplemental activities are also available.
The Cyber Education Literature series was launched in December 2017 with the publishing of its first book, Sarah the Cyber Hero. The book is a pre-K reader for younger children that pioneers the topic of cybersecurity to early elementary youth. Digital and hard-copies of the book are available for purchase on Amazon and BookBaby.com. CyberPatriot's newest program, CyberGenerations, the Senior Citizen's Cyber Safety Initiative, is designed to teach older individuals about password hygiene, malware and ransomware, marketing and fraud scam, and social media awareness. More importantly, CyberGenerations offers resources to victims of cyber scams. The program can be done as a self-paced guide, or it can be presented as a workshop in a group setting.
The Tech Caregiver Program is a companion to CyberGenerations. As a Tech Caregiver, student and adult volunteers can complete a training course, take an exam (with passing grade), and receive a certification to teach basic security measures to senior citizens in a way that is easy to understand. The goal is this program is to give back to the community by helping older populations recognize, understand, and safely avoid the online scams they are so often the target of.