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Digital safety skills initiative launched against cyber crime

Security industry partners have launched an initiative aimed at raising individuals’ digital safety skills to enable them to protect themselves and their families from most common cyber attacks

Security2Live, an international initiative to provide digital safety skills for all, has been launched in London by founder Sarb Sembhi, chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information security officer (CISO) at online security information and course provider Virtually Informed, along with founding partners Layer8, OutThink and Urban IQ.

The initiative is aimed at reducing basic attacks by criminals through providing everyone with access to digital safety skills.

“We believe this initiative will really shake up the user awareness and training organisations which have had little impact on the skills of ordinary people to protect themselves from criminals,” Sembhi told Computer Weekly.

Despite increases in the past 20 years in the rate of growth in the many ways that people, their data, digital assets and physical assets can be compromised, he said increases in corporate budgets, teams, technology and user awareness programmes had done very little to reduce the attack points of individuals outside of the corporate work environment. 

According to Sembhi, individuals are more vulnerable than ever before to their data being hacked, their money stolen and their children approached by people who mean them harm.

Digital safety skills for all

Security2Live is designed to provide key digital safety skills for a digital life, with a focus on skills which may either directly reduce the likelihood of a compromise or reduce the overall attack points for an individual.

“We believe Security2Live will really shake up the user awareness and training organisations which have had little impact on the skills of ordinary people to protect themselves from criminals”
Sarb Sembhi, Virtually Informed

Founded on eight principles (listed below), the initiative’s founding partners want to make digital safety skills available to wider communities of individuals who really want to make a difference, but do not know where to start.

The initiative encourages everyone who wants to get involved to learn digital safety skills and then share them with people they know.

“For several years in the UK, most events during Cyber Security Awareness Month in October have attracted cyber security professionals. We want to change that. Ordinary people should be the attendees at such events, not security professionals,” said Sembhi.

“We will work with other partners to organise events for people who don’t have a clue about digital safety skills. We want to make this year the start of raising digital safety skills and to end security talks where people are discussed as the problem, not the solution.”

New approach to cyber security

The official launch of Security2Live comes against the backdrop of recent studies which found that cyber crime is under-reported and that cyber security progress has stalled.

Sarah Janes, director at enterprise user awareness company Layer8, said: “Our success at enterprise level developing security champions and creating change programmes will be shared with people who engage with Security2Live.

The founding principles of Security2Live

  • Everyone has the right to basic digital safety skills, resources and support.
  • Raising digital safety skills is a collective responsibility.
  • Digital safety skills should impact cyber crime across the world.
  • People’s non-work life should be the focus of their digital safety skills.
  • The skills taught should enable learners to share their learning with others.
  • Resources should be inclusive to meet the needs of all levels of skills.
  • Product and service suppliers must play their role in reducing cyber crime.
  • Lead research into digital safety skills and human risk protection.

“I have great faith in this initiative because it’s not about training people, it’s about creating a new ‘normal’ in the way we all interact with technology every day of our lives.

“Cyber crime continues to affect people, but only a privileged few receive basic education. Basic skills should be accessible to all and, in the future, businesses should expect people to come equipped with these skills.”

Flavius Plesu, co-founder and CEO at OutThink, a provider of the human risk protection platform, said people play a critical role in security.

“Over the past decade, we have seen that attempts to raise awareness have simply not been effective or driven a sustainable change in security behaviours,” he said.

“To cope with the threat of cyber crime, security leaders need to guide and motivate people to build personal digital safety skills.

“To manage the risk effectively, they must also support people with the appropriate technology, tools and processes. We call this human risk protection. We are excited to bring this concept to the world with Security2Live, which takes a fundamentally different approach to any previous industry initiative.”

The founding partners of Security2Live said they welcome support from enterprises that want to make a significant impact to their employees’ digital safety skills and look forward to working with enterprises to host face-to-face digital safety skills sessions.

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