NICE K12 Keynote Presentation

NICE is a framework from the US Government to increase cybersecurity education, ensuring that individuals are educated about the cyber world While in my undergrad program at University of Maryland, one of my professors worked with them allowing us to do practical challenges to learn techniques

NICE K12 Keynote Presentation

Presentation Information

In October of 2023, we, Palo Alto Networks, were asked for someone to present a keynote for the NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference. I very quickly jumped on this.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is a framework from the US Government to increase cybersecurity education at all levels. Ensure that individuals are educated about threats in the cyber world and to how to protect themselves. While in my undergrad program at University of Maryland, one of my professors worked with them and that allowed us to do practical challenges to learn new and interesting techniques for forensics, systems administration, and pen-testing.

After being told that I was selected to do the presentation, I was told from the organizers they wanted something about AI, obviously it was and still is a hot topic with a 30 minute presentation. Well that time changed to 10 minutes within the last two weeks, but honestly that might have worked to my favor as I had a lot of fun presenting this keynote.

My talk covers two sections: Threat towards the education sector and AI threats.

Cyber Threats to the Education Sector

With any presentation you have to set the scene. This wasn't hard to find information as I have worked cases for schools and school districts compromised a few times over the past couple years. What I did not know was the amount of money that schools have paid to recover their systems. Now this highlights an issue that I see a lot is the lack of backups or backups that are not recent enough to be useful. That is the big lesson about ransomware that I would love to recommend to everyone. Have backups that are tested often.

Artificial Intelligence threats toward the Education Sector

Identifying AI being used by threat actors can be hard to detect because it isn't like they are using something that says "Made with ChatGPT." However, I firmly believe that the education sector's big threat is students. I remember when I was in middle school, we were part of a pilot program that each student was given a laptop to use digital course work (Most classes didn't have it, so we mainly just made remixes of music we downloaded via KaZaA and LimeWire. I didn't know better at the time. A side note to this side note, I learned about viruses for the first time with these programs when a friend told me about them and to be careful with what I download). I bring this up as I remember my teachers having no idea how to use the laptops, how to troubleshoot, what was being blocked/was available on the web while on the school network. Because of that, I learned very fast how to get around the proxy and reach websites that were blocked. With things like Gemini and ChatGPT, students are able to learn and ask questions and get answers without having to have the trial and error period or the educated individual to teach them. It is immediate access to knowledge. While that can be good, mistakes from them can introduce vulnerabilities to the rest of the students and school.


I really enjoyed my time doing this, including making the slides. I am very proud of this work and I look forward to doing more of this in the future.

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