Big Data and Privacy - Lesson 10: Rapid Research - Cybercrime
Students learn about various types of cybercrime and the cybersecurity measures
that can help prevent them. Then students perform a Rapid Research project investigating a
particular cybercrime event with a particular focus on the data that was lost or stolen and the
concerns that arise as a result. The Rapid Research activity features vocabulary, concepts, and
skills that should help prepare them for the AP Explore PT, and also serves as a capstone for the
sequence of lessons on encryption and security.
Antivirus Software: usually keeps big lists of known viruses and scans your computer looking for the virus programs in order to get rid of them.
DDoS Attack: Distributed Denial of Service Attack. Typically a virus installed on many computers (thousands) activate at the same time and flood a target with traffic to the point the server becomes overwhelmed.
Firewall: software that runs on servers (often routers) that only allows traffic through according to some set of security rules.
Phishing Scam: a thief trying to trick you into sending them sensitive information. Typically these include emails about system updates asking you send your username and password, social security number or other things.
SSL/TLS: Secure Sockets layer / Transport Layer Security - An encryption layer of HTTP that uses public key cryptography to establish a secure connection.
Virus: a program that runs on a computer to do something the owner of the computer does not intend.
Students will be able to:
Explain the characteristics of a phishing attack
Explain how a DDoS attack works
Describe how one computer virus works
Research and describe a cyber attack found in the news
Reason about the threats posed by, and methods of recourse for, various types of cyber attacks
Describe plausible storage, security, or privacy concerns for particular pieces of data
This lesson serves two roles: 1. Review terminology about cybersecurity and crime
that is relevant for the AP CS Principles Exam and 2. Practice research and writing skills that
will help students on the Explore PT.
Following this lesson the teacher may opt to either run the research activity in the next lesson or move on to running the full Explore PT with the class. Note that the Explore PT prep unit includes additional resources that will help students prepare for the task.
The students are going to learn how cybercrimes are
conducted, how cybersecurity measures can protect us, and what the
implications are of data leaking. Then the students will research a
particular cybercrime and quickly prepare a one-pager about it.
Explain to the students the essence of the following video or watch it as a class.
Some topics from the video that the students may want to research about include:
DDoS Attacks (and Bot Nets)
Viruses and Anti Virus Software
Credit Card theft
Types of people who commit cybercrimes
Day 1: Choose Innovation, Read and Research
Review Activity Guide and Rubric: At the beginning of the project, emphasize the importance of reviewing the one-pager template and rubric. Students may assume that more is required of them than is actually the case. Point out that the written component is quite short. They probably have space for at most 100-150 words per response.
Choosing Your Cybercrime Event: It is recommended that you place a time limit on this process (e.g. 20 minutes). Students should not leave class after the first day without a topic in mind and ideally with some resources identified. Luckily, in choosing their topics, students will likely have begun to identify resources they can use in completing their project.
Conducting Your Research: This document is intended to serve primarily as a guide to students for identifying online sources of information. The skill students need to develop is identifying useful resources on their own and then synthesizing this information. Being presented with a structured way of doing this means students will have a model for how to complete their research when completing the actual Explore PT.
Day 2: Prepare One-Pager
Complete One-Pager: Students should find this aspect of their project most familiar. The prompts are similar in style and content to prompts students have already encountered. Emphasize the need for clarity in their writing, and remind them that everything must fit on a single page. If they have responded completely to each of the prompts, it is fine to write less.
Sharing/Submission: You may want to collect students’ one-pagers, have them share in small groups, or with the whole class. Since students were researching something of their own choosing, they might be eager to show what they found out.
Below is the list of cybersecurity terms that the students were introduced to
throughout this lesson. Each has been annotated with brief explanations.
Implementing cybersecurity has software, hardware, and human components.
This is a theme for the whole lesson.
Vulnerabilities in hardware and software can be compromised as part of an attack.
But, as mentioned in the video, a large percentage of cybersecurity
vulnerabilities are human-related, such as choosing bad passwords, (unintentionally)
installing viruses, or giving personal information away.
Sockets layer/transport layer security (SSL/TLS)
An encryption layer of HTTP. When you encounter the little lock icon and https it means that you are visiting a website over HTTP but the data going back and forth between you and the server is encrypted.
SSL (secure sockets layer) and TLS (transport layer security) use public key cryptography to establish a secure connection.
Cyber warfare and cyber crime have widespread and potentially devastating effects.
This is especially true in the case of warfare which (fortunately) we have not experienced much of on a global scale. But using cyber attacks to cripple basic infrastructure (power, water) and communication could be devastating.
Distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS)
Typically a virus installed on many computers (thousands) activate at the same time and flood a target with traffic to the point the server becomes overwhelmed -- doing this can render web services like DNS, or routers, or certain websites useless and unresponsive.
Typically a thief trying to trick you into sending them sensitive information. Typically these include emails about system updates asking you send your username and password, social security number or other things.
More sophisticated scams can make websites and email look very similar to the real thing.
Viruses / Antivirus software and firewalls
A virus is program that runs on a computer to do something the owner of the computer does not intend. Viruses can be used as a Bot Net to trigger a DDoS-style attack, or they can spy on your computer activity, such as capturing all the keystrokes you make at the computer, or websites you visit, etc.
Antivirus software usually keeps big lists of known viruses and scans your computer looking for the virus programs in order to get rid of them.
A "firewall" is simply software that runs on servers (often routers) that only allows traffic through according to some set of security rules.
Use the rubric provided with the Activity Guide to assess the one-pagers.
The following questions refer to ideas in the Cybercrime video.
What does the s in https refer to?
It's the plural of http - a more robust version of http that runs on multiple channels.
s is for "secure" - a version of http that is encrypted.
s is for "simple" - a simplified version of http that runs faster on modern computers.
s is for "standard" - to distinguish the original http from non-standard versions like httpv and httpx.
When someone tries to get you to give up personal information through email or a bogus website it is called a:
When someone attempts to compromise a target by flooding it with requests from multiple systems that is called a:
The vast majority of computer security failures are due to:
Computer Science Principles: 6.2.2 (H)
Computer Science Principles: 6.3.1 (C, D, E, F, G, H)