Speakers Bureau Members Educate Students on Cybersecurity

Two members from our Speakers Bureau gave a presentation on cybersafety to 1,000 students at Hopkins Junior High in Fremont last week. Below are articles about the presentation as featured in the Fremont Bulletin and the Oakland Tribune.

If you are interested in hosting a speaker from the District Attorney Office at your next community meeting, class or function, please visit our Speakers Bureau page to register your interest.


PDF of Fremont Bulletin article written by Shanon Barry


DA's Office, McAfee team up for cyber security presentation

By Rob Dennis, Oakland Tribune. 10/22/2011.

Source: Oakland Tribune / Inside Bay Area

FREMONT -- Cybersecurity isn't just about viruses and password protection.

It's about the helpful online math program that starts asking your child increasingly personal questions. It's about the young girl who falls for a guy online, goes to meet him in person and gets snatched off the street. It's about the boy who is relentlessly cyberbullied until finally, in desperation, he takes his own life. It's about staying safe.

That was the message delivered to about 1,000 seventh- and eighth-graders last week in two assemblies at Hopkins Junior High School.

It was presented by representatives from two divergent groups that intersect in the murky world of cybercrime -- McAfee and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

"I'm not here to scare you," said Deputy District Attorney Casey Bates, who heads the unit specializing in child sexual assault and human trafficking. "I'm here to give you some realities."

The assemblies were part of the eighth National Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. Through a series of events and initiatives across the country, it encourages public and private sector partners to educate and raise awareness about cybersecurity.

"A lot of really dangerous stuff can happen when you're not careful with how you use the Internet, when you're not careful how you use your Facebook page or your tweets or your searches on the Internet," Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said.

They warned the students about putting personal information online or giving it to Facebook "friends," some of whom they barely know, pointing out that even a seemingly innocuous post about being on vacation can be an open invitation for burglars. Worse, they could be befriending and providing personal details to an online predator.

Bates and Drenick were joined by McAfee's director of technical operations, Marv Wexler, and IT project manager Peter Andrada.

"Our job is to help keep people safe," Wexler said. "Our job is to protect people on the Internet."

Andrada cautioned students about "phishing" scams used by criminals to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, usernames and credit card numbers.

"If it's too good to be true, it's fake," he said. "It's bad. You're being phished."

Bates also cautioned the kids about their own conduct online, showing them a video about cyberbullying.
"The reality is that children your age, because of cyberbullying, do kill themselves," he said. He told students to think before they pick on others via email, Facebook or other methods.

"Because when the child commits suicide, you'll be asking yourself, 'Why did I send that message?' ... You could be prosecuted. You will be prosecuted."

The District Attorney's Office recently set up the Speakers Bureau, an education and outreach program for community groups, and Hopkins Principal Mary Miller asked them to speak at the assemblies. Wexler arranged for McAfee to join the effort. "We know it's a big concern for parents," Miller said. "We wanted to educate these students. ... There's so many of them who have computers at home."

Seventh-graders Meg-hana Lingannagari and Khushbu Patel, both 12, said they learned a lot from the assembly and plan to change some of their online habits.

"We learned that you should be careful when you put stuff on the Internet," Meghana said. "Don't give out personal information."

Overall, the message from the assembly wasn't so much "scared straight" as "think straight."

"The computer is to be embraced, not to be feared," Bates said. "Use it wisely."


Posted on Oct 24, 2011