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With societies continuing to migrate into the digital world and countries’ increasing dependence on complex digital systems, cyber-attacks have become an ongoing and growing threat. Cyber risks can threaten and harm national security, businesses, and individuals and trigger national and global conflicts.
Countries of the Global South are particularly affected by cyber risks. Regulations are often insufficient and cyber skill shortages continue to be an issue. The Trust4Cyber Initiative, running from June 2021 until November 2022, focused on improving the access to information and methods for effective Cybersecurity Capacity Building (CBB) in all its stages – prevention, detection, and response – for all relevant stakeholders in the digital ecosystem.
Since its inception, the initiative conducted seven cybersecurity policy exercises – in Armenia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Rwanda and South Africa – with overall 138 participants (more than originally envisaged). During these exercises, representatives from the government, private sector and civil society were asked to design a coping strategy addressing a large-scale cyber incident which had been custom-tailored to the individual context of the partner country. A policy paper “Cybersecurity Policy Exercises in Practice” is a walk-through the design, organization and implementation of these exercises.
Regardless of the underrepresentation of female experts working in this field (only 24% of the total workforce), 28% of participants of the cybersecurity policy exercises were women, with the highest percentage during the event in South Africa – which reached as high as 45%. It’s also worth noting that that almost the whole trainers’ pool from the implementation partner Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV) and GIZ’s team consisted of women.
Apart from the cybersecurity policy exercises, Trust4Cyber developed a Toolkit on International Cybersecurity Policy – an entry-level course with the essentials on the topic, which is available on the atingi platform. It also helped create a community through its many partnerships that will continue to work together towards more security in the digital space.