Supercyber Program Showcase
A skills deficit in the Australian cybersecurity space threatens our nation’s resilience against a rapidly-evolving digital landscape. In service of this, we created the Supercyber program.
Program Design Journey
The program objective from day one was for students to gain a broad understanding of cybersecurity and a curiosity to further engage in the discourse surrounding it.
The journey from ideation to program delivery took place over an entire year - marking it as the biggest project we have undertaken to date.
Efforts were focused on designing a program that prioritised building interpersonal skills over exposure to tools specific to the cybersecurity industry; a conscious choice made to capture more immediately relevant, age-appropriate competencies.
Industry-based professional learning allowed the team to explore modern cyber practices. We considered many ideas from these findings - from cryptography to creating incident response playbooks - when designing activities that would best resonate with students.
Learnings from system thinking were taken to help guide students to investigate the relational nature of cybersecurity at an individual, team and organisational level.
Students begin their day by critically evaluating their own cybersecurity practices, as we challenge them to consider how to think, not what to think. With this foundational knowledge, students then explore what cybersecurity looks like within a team. Here, they leverage the interpersonal skill of debating tradeoffs in multi-objective scenarios to evaluate the interconnected nature of both digital messages and physical security. This helps students better understand the considerations that go into making cybersecurity decisions.
By the end of the day, students are afforded the autonomy to approach a national-scale cybersecurity incident through a tech-integrated, choose-your-own-adventure game. Students take their learnings throughout the day to tackle socially-conscious decisions that serve to mitigate cyber risk or minimise the impact of cyber incidents.
Each rotation within Supercyber utilises bespoke technology, proudly built in-house. A team with broad capabilities allowed for an open-ended development process that was guided solely by the skills we wanted students to develop, not by the limitations of using off-the-shelf products.
In an industry where time is currency, making quick, informed decisions is crucial. Students experience the immediacy of a cyber attack through a simulated virtual environment developed using Unity, providing students with a safe space to collaboratively analyse their own cyber hygiene.
Students explore the flow of information in a network using communication channels that can be ‘interrupted’. A custom iOS messaging app allows for digital communication while Robotino, an automated robot, delivers physical messages. Students explore how communication bottlenecks when networks go down.
Another rotation explores the zero-sum trade-off between security and accessibility in a physical space. Google’s Teachable Machine is used to showcase how biometric security technologies work. Bespoke 3D models of security technologies were created using Fusion360, rendered with texture using Keyshot and then 3D printed. They afford students a tactile representation of the security choices made throughout the activity.
Connection to Industry Pathways
The importance of weaving meaningful connections to industry throughout the entire lifespan of Supercyber was established from day one.
A series of conversations took place with our industry partner, Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) - a global community of leading cybersecurity professionals - who steered development efforts towards improving skills missing in the current professional pipeline. In these conversations, the intent to keep Supercyber employability-skills-focused was born.
Connections to industry extend beyond the development and delivery of Supercyber, with students given exposure to programs such as CSIRO’s CyberTaipan, a competition for secondary students. Aimed at those with an interest in cybersecurity, the multi-day event saw participants compete to flag and patch systems vulnerabilities on a virtual machine. Multiple students who learned of CyberTaipan through attending Supercyber went on to compete in the 2023 edition.
In line with its intention of addressing the labour shortage in the cybersecurity industry, Supercyber presents the relevant tertiary education pathways offered by our partners Holmesglen Institute of TAFE and Monash University.