Cybersecurity Lab


  • NOVA Cybersecurity Lab Game

    Learn how to keep your digital life safe, spot cyber scams, understand the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks with the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Players assume the role of chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their defenses and thwart attackers. The lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain the need for cybersecurity; privacy versus security; cryptography (cyber codes); and what exactly hackers are.

    Grades: 6-12
  • NOVA Cybersecurity Lab Lesson Plan

    In this media-rich lesson plan, students explore how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, and learn the basics of coding from NOVA Labs. The lesson begins with students watching the Cybersecurity 101 video and discussing the online safety measures that they currently take. Next, students make predictions about online safety best practices, complete the Level 1 challenges of the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab, and compare the best practices from the game with their predictions. Students reconvene for direct instruction on the best practices and key computer science terms, and then finish the Cybersecurity Lab game. Finally, students complete the video quizzes with short-response discussion questions and can work on the Cybersecurity stories as homework reading assignments.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cybersecurity 101

    Learn why protecting your information online is crucial with this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. The Internet was originally designed to connect large computers at universities, businesses, and governments. It grew exponentially once personal computers became common in the 1980s. Connecting to the Internet leaves computers vulnerable. People can use computers to delete data, spread viruses, or even steal someone’s identity. The good news is that there are several ways to stay safe online. You can learn about protecting information by trying coding, password cracking, and spotting email scams in NOVA’s Cybersecurity Lab.

    Note: Animation includes illustrated guns.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cyber Codes

    Learn how encryption keeps online information private in this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Your messages are coded by email programs and websites to prevent others from reading them. Codes have been used in messages for centuries.  Caesar sent coded messages to his military in ancient Rome. In the 1940s, the Allied forces cracked the German Enigma Code, saving lives during World War II. Today, emails are protected through public-key cryptography, which uses numbers from both the sending and receiving email servers to create a key. However, not all online activity is encrypted and in some cases your browsing history, text messages, and data from apps can be intercepted.

    Grades: 6-12
  • A Cyber Privacy Parable

    Learn what can happen when you post information online with this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. When you upload something to a social media site, that information is stored on the website’s server. People can access your information from a website’s server, including governments, advertisers, and identity thieves. You could unintentionally reveal personal information, including your full name, address, and phone number through an innocent post. Identity thieves can use this information to access your bank account and the accounts of your friends, jeopardizing their personal information, too. In fact, over 10 million Americans have their identities stolen every year.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Secret Lives of Hackers

    Learn about different types of hackers with this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Hacking is solving problems in creative or unexpected ways. Hacks have been used for everything from Galileo’s telescope to Apollo 13. Similarly, there are many reasons that people hack computers. Some are just curious about how systems work, others hack to find and fix security flaws before they are exploited by criminals. Some hackers have bad intentions fueled by greed, attention, or rebellion. There are some hackers who have good intentions, but use questionable methods of getting information. “Hacking” isn’t good or bad – it depends on how and why people hack.

    Grades: 6-12

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Funder: Biogen Foundation 2015 color