I think it’s safe for me to assume that anyone who’s the least bit familiar with cyber security has heard of Black Hat and White Hat hackers, and even those in between, the Gray Hats.
I’d like to expand your cyber lexicon further and introduce you to the newest category: Silver Hats.
A "Silver Hat" is a pending trademark that identifies those individuals over the age of 60 that are learning (and sharing) information about cyber security.Cyber security is generation agnostic. The senior citizens of any country have an impact on generations above and below them, which is why they too need to be able to protect themselves against cyber-attacks and keep their information private.According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of people in the US ages 65+ own a cell phone, so the need for Silver Hats is in high demand.I think of my Grandma, who is now 83. She has a smartphone, a Facebook, and a fitness tracker. All of which she regularly uses. And while I know she can ‘use’ each of these devices, I begin to question, Does she follow best practices? Is she doing the best she can to protect her PII? And in the case she experienced a breach, would she know how to react?That was the inspiration for Cybrary’s latest user-generated course.Chris Greco
, (@grectech) a self-proclaimed Silver Hat and Senior Consultant/ trainer at GRECTECH, has almost 20 years’ experience in IT. A retired Air Force Intelligence Officer and retired Federal government Civilian, Chris’ background extends from public service to private industry and academia. He started exploring cyber security issues in 1998.“I read ‘What Color is Your Parachute’ in 1997 and started in IT shortly thereafter,” explains Chris, “I liked cybersecurity because of it’s similarity to intelligence work. I like helping others learn about concepts whether they are cybersecurity, statistics, math, or speaking skills.”In the ‘Cybersecurity for Silver Hats’ course
, viewers get a series of instructional videos that help senior citizens understand the impact of cyber attacks. This course delves into the attacks and the attack vectors Black Hats use in order to get private information.From Chris’ perspective, his course is unique because “Cyber security courses seem to be geared to that younger generation of millennials and that generation even younger than them. Teaching senior citizens (of which I am a member) cybersecurity is something that will not only influence them but the generations below them.”One of the goals of this course is to provide knowledge to senior citizens in order for them to share it with others and spread the news of keeping people aware while online.By using the “Silver Hat” connotation, Chris hopes seniors will quickly associate with it and keep the idea of sharing cybersecurity alive for others.Learning cyber security regardless of age is important but it’s the way Chris delivers his message to his audience that makes it resonate even better.“My father once told me that learning is a lifelong endeavor that you receive from people primarily and books secondarily. Learning from others, and gaining from their life experience, is most important. I am no smarter than anyone else, I just have more life experience.”Chris, who likes giving presentations particularly to engage the audience and get feedback, says teaching leaves him with a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. Typically, his presentations deal with cyber security, IT, history, project management
, or statistics (to name a few).It’s clear that Chris not only loves learning but enjoys sharing his expertise as well. He answered a few questions from the team I think you’ll find interesting. What skills/ technology do you frequently use?
I use presentation and word processing applications, but I also dabble in software programming. I additionally like to explore electronics and see how that relates to the overall computer industry.What is the most important take away from your course?
Cyber attacks occur no matter what the age, gender, race, or ethnic origin. EVERYONE has been hacked in the US (From the statistics). Your job as a Silver Hat is to share with others the ways to strengthen your computer use the same way you protect your house, car, and belongings.What have you found most helpful in learning cyber security?
Cybersecurity changes every minute! In order to keep up with this dynamic environment, I have learned to read and try to absorb as much information about current and future threats as possible. The main thing to remember is that ANYTHING that is connected to the internet can be attacked. The moment you realize this is the moment you become aware of the threat.What is your advice to other Silver Hats?
You belong to a group that is respected and heard. You can change how people around you protect themselves and others. Take the knowledge you know about cybersecurity and share it. Tell others to stop cursing the darkness and light a candle.Perhaps most importantly, Chris shares, “No one is infallible. The world is constantly expanding. Teaching is the only way to help others become more self- aware and build your confidence.”You can follow Chris on Cybrary by clicking here.
In the Cybrary world, we are also expanding the site so that anyone can create and teach a course. By doing so, you can move yourself and others to new levels of skill and knowledge. If you’d like more information on doing so, click here.
For future posts, I’ll continue to feature authors of user- created courses so you can understand how your unique background and beliefs can make for awesome content. We hope you’ll continue to engage with these authors and provide them feedback, as well as suggest topics for new courses
.Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia)
is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.