A fictional dog is to teach elementary and middle school kids how to maintain a secure digital footprint in a new book co-authored by Fortinet’s deputy CISO. 

Lacey the pooch is the creation of Renee Tarun, a cybersecurity veteran of two and half decades. The character is based on Tarun’s pet chocolate Labrador, Lacey, who died three years ago at the age of 15. 

In Cyber Safe: A Dog’s Guide to Internet Security, Lacey shows her friend Gabbi the cat how to use the internet safely. Fortinet will make copies of the book available to schools across the United States as part of the NSE Training Institute’s initiatives to close the skills gap.

Describing what inspired her to write the book, Tarun told Infosecurity Magazine: “Having been in the cyber field for over 25 years, working in intelligence and law enforcement agencies and now the private sector at Fortinet, I know that children can be a vulnerable and lucrative target for identity thieves and for those looking to do much worse. 

“Kids spend a lot more time online these days. The internet can be a great place for kids to learn, connect with friends, etc. However, it can also put them at risk. Being a parent of two kids, I know the importance of teaching kids how to be safe wherever they go, including online.”

Asked how she chose which animals to write about, Tarun said: “Having a dog and cat are very relatable pet characters for kids. I chose the dog because of my experiences with my own dog, Lacey.  

“She was a very loyal, protective dog. She was also very smart; she figured out how to open doors and camping tents all on her own! Usually food was involved.”

The book will focus on teaching kids the fundamentals of good cyber hygiene, like keeping devices up to date, and security practices such as protecting personal information.  

“These are basic concepts that everyone (including adults) should know and continue to practice,” said Tarun.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see breaches and personal information being exposed because of not doing the basics and human error.”

Tarun is planning the next book in a series dedicated to kids, cyber, and more animal duos.

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