The pilot group chosen for the initiative is the Thohoyandou community, which is located within the Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo. The Internet and technology users were targeted at their places of learning – be it at schools, colleges and community centres.
The CSIR has created a training package to raise awareness about cyber security among novice technology users. The package covers four main streams of cyber security-related topics – physical security, malware and malware countermeasures, safe surfing, and the social aspects of cyber security. Far from a PC literacy course, the training is best described as a self-defence course for Internet users.
Packaged in an easy-to-understand format, the training modules are customised for different age groups to ensure relevance and better understanding of the content. Specific programmes are therefore geared to be appropriate to secondary school learners; students at further education training colleges; technical and non-technical university students; users at community centres; educators and teachers; support staff; and learners at primary schools.
Presentations enhanced with movie clips, as well as posters and practical work sessions form part of the training package. In addition, board games, computer games and playing card games are used as an even more fun and entertaining way to get the cyber security awareness messages across.
Designed in partnership with the University of Venda (Univen), the roll-out of the training has been done in a train-the-trainer methodology to build capacity in local communities. Undergraduate students from Univen were invited to volunteer as part of this project.
The first intake of 17 students comprised mainly third year computer science students. On selection, they were required to attend a training programme at Univen in Thohoyandou to prepare them for their sessions. A group leader was appointed to take responsibility for the logistical arrangements and the students did training, testing and handling of surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the training by determining a group’s cyber security awareness before and after the session.
Analysis of the surveys revealed a distinct increase in cyber security understanding and awareness in this first implementation of the project. Changes planned for the future includes translation of the questionnaires into a variety of languages, and equipping the training teams with mobile communication tools.
Also, the CSIR is developing the technology package for a cyber security game under the name Kuberfun. Discussions with development organisations and universities continue.
Since the roll-out in 2010, 60 students have been trained as trainers, and more than 600 netizens participated in training events.
In June 2012, students from the University of Pretoria were equipped to manage training at schools in Mpumalanga.