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January 31, 2021

The Teach Cyber Megabyte

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In this month's Megabyte: Teach Cyber Updates; Cybersecurity Teacher of the Year Awardees Chosen; High-Level Overview – Unit 3 Lesson 1; Linux-Themed Puzzles and Answer Key
Units 5, 7, and 8 of the Teach Cyber course are posted! Unit 5 covers countermeasures to cybersecurity attacks, and Unit 7 takes a more in-depth look at threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks. (Units 5 and 7 contain hands-on labs requiring accounts on the U.S. Cyber Range.) Unit 8 shifts gears and looks at the social implications and shifting geopolitics of cybersecurity. This unit contains a lesson (Unit 8 Lesson 1) which could be great for an end-of-semester capstone project!
We are proud to present a SIGSCE lightning talk. The talk is titled "High School Cybersecurity: Curriculum Concepts, Content, and Course Instruction" and will be presented at the virtual ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGSCE), March 13th-20th.

We look forward to exhibiting at The School Superintendents Association 2021 National Conference on Education, February 18th-19th. If you’re an attendee, come by and say hi! If you know a superintendent who will attend, we’d love to meet them and tell them about Teach Cyber. We'll be at booth 625!

We're setting up our summer PD schedule! We're setting dates for summer professional development workshops. We will host two kinds of workshops: 1-day workshops for teachers who want to boost their cybersecurity content knowledge; and full-week workshops for teachers who want to prepare to teach the Teach Cyber curriculum. More info on workshops offered, dates, and how to apply will be announced soon!

    Teach of the year
    Thank you to all who nominated a teacher for our 2020 Cybersecurity Teacher of the Year award!

    We were so excited and inspired by the accomplishments of cybersecurity teachers across the country. We planned to select 3 teachers but, after receiving all the nominations, could only narrow it down to 8! We divided the awardees into 3 categories:
    Passport to
    Cybersecurity Award
    This award recognizes teachers who have dedicated great time and effort to prepare for, recruit for, and implement a cybersecurity class at their school. Their efforts have resulted in students' introduction to the field of cybersecurity.
    Pathways to
    Cybersecurity Award
    This award recognizes teachers who (in addition to teaching a cybersecurity class) developed cybersecurity programs, host clubs, and/or coach competitions. Their efforts have given students multiple means to enter or advance along a cybersecurity path.
    Platform for
    Cybersecurity Award
    This award recognizes teachers who are supporting systemic change in cybersecurity education in their communities. These awardees mentor other teachers and craft curriculum or policies to be adopted by other cybersecurity teachers.
    Awardees were selected from 7 states across the U.S. We look forward to featuring the awardees in our upcoming newsletters! Thanks again to our nominees, and to all readers, for the hard work you do in advancing cybersecurity education.

    This lesson defines hardware and software, then introduces operating systems and Linux. Next, students complete the first lab in the course (Intro to Linux) using the U.S. Cyber Range.

    Many of our pilot testers will be using this lesson soon, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to give a bird’s eye view of the concepts behind this lab and why we chose it for our course. We hope this is useful as additional prep for Unit 3 Lesson 1 or for review after completing the lesson. We hope this could be of use to teachers outside of the pilot program, too!

    What are Operating Systems?

    Imagine you’ve come home from a long day of school. You drop your bag at the door, kick off your shoes, and sit down in a comfortable chair. You open your laptop, launch Spotify, and turn on your favorite song. You open Microsoft Word to start work on a paper that’s due next week, then you launch Firefox so you can begin research for your paper.
    Have you ever wondered… how does your computer know you want it to open and run these applications? How does it run multiple applications at the same time?

    That’s the work of your Operating System (OS)! An OS is a special kind of software (instructions that tell your computer what to do). Picture the OS as the middle man between other software (e.g., Spotify, Microsoft Word, and Firefox) and your computer’s hardware (the physical components of your computer). An OS receives requests from software and relays those requests to hardware. When you run multiple programs at once, your OS acts like a traffic controller, directing requests to the appropriate areas in the hardware.
    Without an OS, all smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers would be useless! All of these devices rely on an OS to operate and run the software on the hardware.

    So, What do Operating Systems Have to do With Cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity is all about securing cyberspace. Cyberspace is made up of software, hardware, and networks. To secure cyberspace, you must understand 1) software, hardware, and network vulnerabilities; and 2) software, hardware, and network countermeasures. In order to understand vulnerabilities and countermeasures, you need working knowledge of operating systems, since hardware and software rely on an operating system to function.
    Why are We Covering Linux?

    There are many different operating systems out there! The most well-known operating systems are Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Unix, and Linux. This course focuses on Linux, the best-known and most-used open source operating system. It’s estimated that at least 30% of web servers run Linux!
    “Linux plays an incredibly important part in the job of a cybersecurity professional. Specialized Linux distributions such as Kali Linux are used by cybersecurity professionals to perform in-depth penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, as well as provide forensic analysis after a security breach.

    Moreover, Linux is the operating system used on most network devices and security appliances, including routers, firewalls, next-generation firewall (NGFW) devices, unified threat management (UTM) gateways, virtual private network (VPN) concentrators, intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion protection systems (IPS), security information and event management (SIEM) appliances, wireless access point (WAP) devices, and more. Consequently, to collect security-related data from these devices or perform security hardening, you must first understand Linux.”[1]

    [1] Eckert, J. (2018, August 20). 5 Linux Skills You Must Master to Be a Cybersecurity Professional. CompTIA Blog. https://www.comptia.org/blog/5-linux-skills-for-cybersecurity-professionals
    What's the U.S. Cyber Range, and Why are We Using It?

    The U.S. Cyber Range is a partner of Teach Cyber. It is a paid service operated by Virginia Tech University.
    US Cyber Range Logo
    The U.S. Cyber Range is a web-based “sand box” environment. You access the range through a web browser – you don’t need any special software. You only need an account, and, since you’re in a sandbox environment, you don’t have to worry about breaking anything! You can get hands-on experience without having to set up your own IT infrastructure.

    The labs in the course, including the Unit 3 Lesson 1 Intro to Linux lab, use the U.S. Cyber Range. The Intro to Linux lab introduces students to the Linux Command Line Interface and some commonly used Linux commands.

    The Intro to Linux lab is important, because it lays important foundational knowledge. The course focuses on Linux for the majority of the subsequent labs.
    The Linux Command Line

    In the Intro to Linux Lab, you’ll be working in the Linux terminal, also known as the command line.
    Command Line Interface (CLI)
    AHHH! What is this?! If you’ve never worked in a terminal before, don’t worry! You’re probably more used to interacting with something that looks more like this, right?
    Graphical User Interface (GUI)
    These are two different ways to interact with a computer!

    With the Command Line Interface, you, the user, type commands into the terminal. You have to know which command to use, and you must enter it properly. With the Graphical User Interface, you click on recognizable icons to run commands.

    Both interfaces can be used to accomplish the same thing. For example, you can use either interface to launch Firefox.
    Firefox CLI
    Do I have to learn the command line interface? It seems harder… I have to learn the commands, memorize them, and enter them the right way…

    The short answer is yes, it’s important to learn the CLI! Some tasks work better through the command line (e.g., complex system administration tasks).
    Printable PDF version of puzzles
    Printable PDF answer key
    Linux Crossword Puzzle
    Linux Crossword_v2
    2. Microsoft Windows, another OS, is ______ ______, meaning its code is proprietary and not publicly available.
    7. Linux is an ______ System.
    8. Hardware is all of the ______ components of your computer.
    11. An operating system receives requests from software software programs and relays them to a computer’s ______.
    14. When using the CLI, the user must manually type ______ into the terminal.
    19. A computer program with a user interface is an ______.
    21. ______ ______ memory is a special form of memory computer memory. It’s fast- data can be read and changed in any order. Think of it as a place to store short term memory.
    23. A ______ is a group of computers connected via cables or a wireless connection for the purpose of sharing resources, exchanging files, or communicating with one another.
    24. The ______ directory is the top-level directory in Linux. It contains all the other directories and their subdirectories.
    25. The ______ is a component of hardware made up of electronic circuitry. It processes the instructions from your operating system and other software. Think of it as the hardware “brain” of your computer.
    26. An ______ path shows the complete path of a file, all the way up to the root directory.

    1. Leafpad is a ______ ______ for Linux.
    3. The ______ is responsible for receiving the commands you type into the terminal, understanding what those commands mean, performing some work, then returning text output to the terminal.
    4. Your keyboard, mouse, and microphone are examples of ______ devices.
    5. A ______ script is a text file containing a series of commands. With this type of script, it’s possible to give the computer multiple commands at once, which will be executed only when you run the script.
    6. A ______ is a location for storing the files on your computer.
    7. Linux is ______ ______, meaning its code is designed to be publicly accessible- anyone can see the code, modify it, and distribute it.
    9. ______ are the core of operating systems. They have control over everything in the OS and are usually responsible for critical tasks like memory management, process and task management, and disk management.
    10. A file ______ is a human-readable representation of where a file lives on your computer system (i.e., which directory or sub-directory it lives in).
    12. Your printer, headphones, and speakers are examples of ______ devices.
    13. When using a ______ user interface, the user interacts with and clicks on icons to run commands.
    15. Computer ______ consists of all the different types of data storage technology that a computer uses.
    16. On the Linux CLI, you must sign in as a superuser, or root user, to change another user's ______.
    17. In a GUI, a graphical ______ is an interactive visual element, like an interactive button or scroll bar.
    18. A ______ is a specific set of instructions that can be executed by a computer to perform a specific task. This set of instructions is simply a text file written in a certain coding language.
    20. Code allows you to create a computer program. On the other hand, a ______ runs within that program to control certain aspects of the program.
    22. You can use the Linux command line and bash shell script to get sunrise and sunset time information for any given location. A synonym for sunset is ______.

    Match the Command to Its Description

    See the circled letters in each word in the crossword above? Each set of circled letters forms a Linux command. You should read the circles left to right or top to bottom. First, list each command on the matching colored line. Then, drawn an arrow between the Linux command on the left and the description of that command on the right.
    Put Each of The Commands You Found Into One of These Buckets
    These are just a handful of important Linux commands covered in the Intro to Linux lab. There are many Linux commands!

    One critical command covered in the lab is the chmod command. This command allows you to set user permissions for files.
    Question to Chew On
    What are the different user permissions for files in Linux? How do user permissions support confidentiality, integrity, and availability?
    Linux Crossword Puzzle
    2. Closed Source
    7. Operating
    8. Physical
    11. Hardware
    14. Commands
    19. Application
    21. Random Access
    23. Network
    24. Root
    25. CPU
    26. Absolute
    1. Text Editor
    3. Shell
    4. Input
    5. Bash
    6. Directory
    7. Open Source
    9. Kernels
    10. Path
    12. Output
    13. Graphical
    15. Memory
    16. Password
    17. Widget
    18. Program
    20. Script
    22. Sundown

    Match the Command to Its Description
    Put Each of The Commands You Found Into One of These Buckets
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