Education Technology

Computer science resources

Cybersecurity

Download interactive cybersecurity activities for students to do in groups. All the activities are designed to use with the BBC micro:bit and TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculators.

Getting set up for cybersecurity activities

1. Get your technology ready

You’ll need one BBC micro:bit and a TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator for every student in a group (typically three students per group).

2. Transfer the activity files

After downloading the cybersecurity activities, transfer each file to your students’ graphing calculators using the TI-Nspire™ CX II Connect app or your TI-Nspire™ computer software.

3. Start the activity

Simply select one of the cybersecurity activities from the calculator’s menu options and follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen.

What is the BBC micro:bit?

The micro:bit is a multifunctional microcontroller board that creates a fun, interactive learning environment for students to learn the basics of physical computing.

Update your BBC micro:bit

Make sure your micro:bit is up to date by downloading the latest sketch firmware. Download the calculator module to add new micro:bit menu options to your TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator.

Download both the micro:bit firmware and the TI-Nspire™ CX II python module with one easy click:

Download now

Download all cybersecurity activities

These free cybersecurity activities are ordered in a series of learning sequences, so students can gradually build on their understanding concept by concept. Each activity can be downloaded separately, or you can download them all at once.

Cybersecurity Activity 1:
All Clear

Activity 1 introduces students to “cleartext” messaging. Students will send messages between two micro:bit radios on one of 83 radio channels using plaintext characters, referred to as cleartext. The “student hacker” will attempt to eavesdrop on the conversation by listening in on the same channel.

Cybersecurity Activity 2:
Channel Surfing

Inspired by Hedy Lamarr’s revolutionary work, this activity builds on the concepts learned in Activity 1 and introduces students to frequency hopping. Students will learn the method of hiding radio messages by transmitting bits and pieces over several radio channels until an entire message has been sent, making it very difficult for an eavesdropper to intercept them.

Cybersecurity Activity 3:
Hail, Caesar!

Building on the concepts learned in Activity 2, this activity introduces students to Caesar ciphers. Students will experiment with encoding messages by using a Caesar shift, which is used to switch up the order of letters in the alphabet to transform plaintext into a ciphertext.

Cybersecurity Activity 4:
#WhatsYourPassword

Building on the concepts learned in Activity 3, students will learn about obfuscating passwords through a method known as “hashing.” This security function shows students how a plaintext password can be scrambled and encrypted by a hashing function, such as SHA-256, in such a way that makes it unreadable to hackers.

Cybersecurity Activity 5:
Turn the (Rainbow) Tables

Building on the concepts learned in Activity 4, it’s up to the student hacker to turn the tables by working out the method for hacking SHA-256 password encryption.
The student hacker must search a rainbow table, which is comprised of precomputed hashes from known and frequently used passwords, to decrypt the hashed password they’ve stolen

Cybersecurity Activity 6 (Bonus):
Pick the Lock

This bonus activity challenges students to put all the concepts they’ve learned together in order to successfully pick a micro:bit lock. Will your students be able to discover what’s locked away inside the old treasure chest?

There's more to explore

Take an adventure into cryptography

Challenge students to strengthen their problem-solving skills by identifying patterns, solving puzzling problems and unraveling clues to triangulate the rich point on a treasure map.


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