Cookie sales may take a back seat to fighting identity theft and other computer crime now that Girl Scouts as young as 5 are to be offered the chance to earn their first-ever cyber security badges, reports Reuters. U.S. Girl Scouts who master the required skills can attach to their uniform’s sash the first of 18 cyber security badges that will be rolled out in September 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA said. The education program, which aims to reach as many as 1.8 million Girl Scouts in kindergarten through sixth grade, is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks, a security company.
The goal is to prevent cyber attacks and restore trust in digital operations by training “tomorrow’s diverse and innovative team of problem solvers equipped to counter emerging cyber threats,” Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks. The move to instill “a valuable 21st century skill set” in girls best known for cookie sales is also aimed at eliminating barriers to cyber security employment, such as gender and geography, said Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.