Cybersecurity

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This Business English lesson plan on cybersecurity has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

All companies have to abide by data protection laws and protect themselves from cyberattacks. Criminals are increasingly finding more sophisticated ways to steal information, and companies that don’t take security measures to prevent this can find themselves facing large fines. In this Business English lesson plan on cybersecurity, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the importance of data protection, cybercrime and ways companies can protect the information they hold.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Data Privacy Day, which takes place in January. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

BBC | “Why remote working leaves us vulnerable to cyber-attacks”

The article talks about the vulnerability remote working has for companies, and how IT technicians might not take the same kinds of precautions at home compared to in the office. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Have they experienced any of the issues raised in the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TED Talk by Craig Costello called “In the war for information, will quantum computers defeat cryptographers?” which discusses the potential advantages and threats posed by quantum computers for cybersecurity.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including why data protection is important, how to keep data safe and what legislation and regulations the student’s company has to comply with.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with cybersecurity such as hack, credit card fraud and ransomware. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about cybersecurity. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what cybersecurity training they have received, the different motivations behind cybercrime and whether new technology will make our data safer or more vulnerable.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write a memo to staff reminding of them of their data protection obligations. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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