Security through the eyes of a teenager. Part 1

It’s often assumed that younger generations are more aware of online threats than us old folks.  The notion being that since they’ve grown up on the internet, they are more knowledgeable and tech savvy. We decided to put this theory to the test.

As part of a co-op initiative,  Defence Intelligence has recently been joined by a 17 year old high school student named Montana.  We thought this would be a great chance to get some insight into what young people really think about information security.  As part of her work here, she’s going to be doing some research on awareness amongst her peers.  Over the next couple of weeks, she’ll be taking over our blog and posting her findings.  Here she is with her introduction.  – Keith
My name is Montana, and I am a student at West Carleton Secondary School in Dunrobin, Ontario. I signed up for co-op last year to gain an understanding of a specific field that could possibly open many opportunities. I take co-op for five days a week, three hours a day. 
I first decided I was going to take the co-op course at my school when a friend informed me about her experience. I was interested in learning more about a possible career, and began to think what field I would be interested in. I have taken an interest in working with computers but I was uncertain of which direction. After doing some research I discovered Defence Intelligence – a small Ottawa based information security company. I was fortunate to be able to have such a unique Co-op placement.
My first day of co-op started by getting myself lost on the OC Transpo bus routes. Once I found the place, I was confused just by the terminology, let alone the work I was doing. After a few days of adjustment and the help of Mr. Sully’s patient explanations, I became more comfortable. 
I was first given a project to research the top 25 websites I visited most often. I learned how to use many online resources, the threat analyst interface, and Google search in an effective way. I was able to identify what information is valuable when making a decision about the safety of a website. Each day I was getting better and faster by expanding my intake of knowledge. I was eager to learn as much as possible and to test out my abilities.
Back at school, many students were interested when I got to describe my job and share what I do. It made me sound pretty technical, although I had no previous experience with internet security before.
After many weeks, I gave a presentation to my co-workers. 
That’s what I enjoy about working here. I get the opportunity to make an actual business presentation where I am relied on to demonstrate my understanding. I learned how to speak to people and how to present myself with the comprehension I gained.  The subject was the threat analyst interface, which has been an ongoing project since I joined Defence Intelligence. I was not nervous about presenting in front of everyone, but was afraid of not giving a clear explanation. I did fairly well, but with some improvements needed. 
When I walked in one afternoon, I was told that I was to be moved around to get a feel for all parts of the business. I am not only learning about the specialty of the business, but the sales side and much more. I was also given a project to create a survey for my friends to answer. 
This survey was intended to get feedback from teenagers about internet security and if they really cared about it. The survey was made up of 10 questions. The first time I mentioned the survey was on Facebook. I posted the survey as a disguised link. This way I was able to see the amount of people who will click on an unknown (potentially untrustworthy) link. I will later repost the link and ask my friends to complete the survey.
Mrs. Stewart, my co-op teacher, came in one day to see how things were going at my work placement. She was pleased to hear that I was enjoying my time at Defence Intelligence. She was also impressed with the variety of areas that I would be working in. 
My co-op placement has lived up to my expectations and I am learning more than what a class in school could teach me – business techniques, management, working with others, communications skills, and so much more. I’m really thankful to Defence Intelligence for taking me on as a co-op student and feeding me with incredible amounts of knowledge. 
– Montana