Cybersecure It

Spreading Awareness about the Dangers of Cyber Vulnerabilities

Engaged kids and asking questions about cybersecurity and creating passwords.

Engaged kids and asking questions about cybersecurity and creating passwords.

"In a world where our daily lives depend on technology, cybersecurity has become an absolute necessity," says Tiffany Tu, Founder of Cybersecure It. As a senior at Bellevue High School, Tiffany was inspired to start this nonprofit organization when she came across a Bloomberg Businessweek article about a Pegasus spyware scandal. “I have always been passionate about technology and, after reading that story, was motivated to look more closely into cybersecurity. Through extensive research and learning, I realized that although it is an escalating issue, cybersecurity remains a largely overlooked topic in public discourse,” she says. 

Cybersecure It is a student-led organization dedicated to providing cybersecurity education and spreading awareness about the dangers of cyber vulnerabilities. “I started by creating a cybersecurity curriculum and developing a website where I featured the course directly on it,” Tiffany explains. "The organization has expanded off of that starting point.” Cybersecure It offers online cybersecurity courses that cover topics such as recognizing cyber threats, building strong passwords, having online privacy habits, practicing secure measures for devices and systems, and mastering cryptography. “We’ve successfully distributed the curriculum to a couple of school districts in the region, and are now working to disseminate it nationally,” Tiffany explains. 
Aaron Tng, also a BHS senior, is the Outreach Officer for Cybersecure It and urges others to "prepare for a career in cyber security". He runs a podcast series, ‘Cyber Empowerment’, dedicated to helping high school students learn and explore future career paths in the cybersecurity industry. “I have interviewed security experts, industry leaders, and college professors to discuss their career journey and the cyber threats landscape,” he says. 
As students in Washington, Tiffany and Aaron would like to see the State Board of Education do more to promote cybersecurity education. North Dakota has recently become the first state to mandate the K-12 study of cybersecurity and, given that Washington is a thriving tech hub, they believe they can build on this momentum and drive positive change in our education system. Aaron says, “We need to produce more security professionals in our state and it starts with including a cybersecurity course as a graduation requirement for high school. I have reached out to former Congressman, Chad Magendanz, who has helped guide us in the early stages.” Tiffany adds, “We have pitched our idea to the Washington Board of Education where our curriculum is used as a base for the proposed statewide learning standards."
Tiffany feels the need to inject greater urgency in raising awareness about cybersecurity and is committed to making cybersecurity education accessible not only to our youth but to vulnerable populations like the elderly and immigrants as well. In the meantime, Aaron offers some important advice, saying, “Do not click on suspicious links in your email and use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.” 
As high school seniors, both Tiffany and Aaron are considering their college choices, starting their applications, and working on their essays. Both plan to study computer science in college, while Aaron envisions following his undergraduate studies with a Master's Degree in information security and Tiffany intends to work in the cybersecurity field as a career.
Tiffany directs Cybersecure It and its team as well as leading the organization’s curriculum creation and distribution, social media advocacy, collaborations, and blog writing, and hosting workshops as the organization expands beyond the Pacific Northwest. As Outreach Officer, Aaron connects and collaborates with individuals and organizations around the globe, aiming to broaden the network of Cybersecure It and the reach of its curriculum. 
“Another facet of our cybersecurity education offering is the workshops we host. We're currently conducting workshops at in-person camps with younger kids where we teach the basics of cybersecurity in an engaging and hands-on manner. We also have a team member based in Southern California who is planning workshops for senior centers,” Tiffany says. “Additionally, we’ve extended our impact across the country and internationally, partnering with organizations on the East Coast and in countries like Canada. Our cybersecurity curriculum has been taught in the greater New York City area and distributed to places such as Connecticut and Los Angeles." 
Both Tiffany and Aaron would like to use this opportunity to ask organizations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Expedia, Blue Origin, T-Mobile, and Starbucks to engage with Cybersecure It and join them in their journey to promote cybersecurity in Washington schools and beyond. 

Phone: 425-499-5922