Cybersecurity hub keeping businesses safer online
24 March 2021
With the cost of cybercrime in Europe rising to an average of €50,000 per incident – up from €10,000 the previous year – an attack can be very expensive for small to medium-sized businesses with limited resources.
However, thanks to a €4 million Horizon 2020 digital hub creating a highly-skilled cyber workforce through the first-ever Cybersecurity Professional Register, staff based in universities and SMEs across the world have learned how to protect themselves against sophisticated online attacks with its new cybersecurity training programme – free of charge.
A European consortium is tackling sophisticated cybercrime with a new cybersecurity platform offering courses to keep businesses and academic institutions safe online.
Giving advanced and entry-level trainees the experience of taking part in a virtual cyber-attack, the courses have provided practical experience against phishing scams, cybercriminals and hackers – all in timed conditions.
The novel training programme has allowed participants to play the role of ‘defender’ or ‘attacker’ in a mock cyber-attack, giving them the unique insight and practice of what it is like to be a cybercriminal but without breaking the law.
Following successful trials and workshops in transport, academia and energy sectors, the cybersecurity hub has already created over 500 qualified individuals from over 20 institutions over the past year in tackling malware, spoofing, phishing scams, spam emails, SQL injection and password cracking.
Allowing users to gain financial insight into poor or incorrect decisions, the course has also provided a working knowledge of associated costs, with users penalised an imaginary €10,000 for not spotting an unsecured password, or clicking on suspicious links, for example.
Niccolò Zazzeri from CYBERWISER.eu said: “Against a backdrop of increased interconnected devices, advancing AI and improved machine learning, 2020 has shown there is an urgent need for highly-skilled and multi-disciplined cybersecurity professionals. Threat actors are continuing to evolve their ability to avoid detection and rapidly expanding their capabilities with the proliferation of accessible tools and exploits. Our end goal is the democratisation of cybersecurity training and the empowerment of multi-disciplined teams in public and private organisations.
“We have seen many SMEs, universities and small businesses with limited resources take part in our entry-level simulated environments as cybercrime has reached new and unprecedented levels.
“With our rich and varied content and carefully-planned scenarios, there are no courses as interactive as CYBERWISER.eu. We have put our trainees into live attacks, as well as allowing them to access the actual code, play around with it and let them see first-hand how vulnerabilities can be exploited.”
The courses look at all aspects of security, such as online fraud via scams eliciting personal information such as account passwords or credit card information, which currently costs the world $600 billion per year (Centre for Strategic and International Studies).
A recent study by Insight has shown that nearly 80% of senior IT and IT security leaders believe their organisations lack sufficient protection against cyberattacks despite increased IT security investments.
Last year, the Lloyds Register Foundation World Risk Poll run by Gallup found that seventy-one per cent of people who use the internet recognised three main internet-related risks – misinformation, fake news, and cyberbullying. Worldwide, 45 percent of internet users said they worry about being the victim of online fraud.
World’s first Cybersecurity Professional Register
Consolidating the individuals it has trained, the EU-funded ‘CYBERWISER.EU' project that runs the courses has made a significant impact in global internet safety by creating the world's first-ever Cybersecurity Professional Register (CyPR) – which all advanced users are enrolled into.
“Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue,” Zazzeri explains “it affects cultures from all levels of seniority in all companies that have a digital presence. While the initial entry-level 'Primer course for cybersecurity beginners is free, Cyberwiser has three more commercial products – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced – tailored to the requirements and size of your business or institution.”
“All our advanced users are automatically added to the Cybersecurity Professional Register where organisations of any size or sector can find and contact our members with the skills and experiences they need to improve their cybersecurity. We also approve the registration in the CyPR of Cybersecurity Experts that have already obtained Cybersecurity official certifications such as ISACA, ISC2 etc, a Higher Education Degree, or have certified working experience in the field.”
The types of people who have enrolled so far have been employed in HR Departments, more skilled employees working in SOC, public sector workers, technical staff in the cybersecurity department and, junior staff who have been looking to develop their basic training.
Training the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow, CYBERWISER.EU is enabling users to understand the operational and business risks and responsibilities from an organisation-wide perspective with its innovative mix of a theoretical and practical approach.