ECSO participates in discussion with the EESC’s Digital Transition and Single Market Observatory

ECSO participates in discussion with the EESC’s Digital Transition and Single Market Observatory

On the 16th February, ECSO participated in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)’s debate on the European Data Strategy and consumers in the age of cybersecurity, sharing its knowledge on cybersecurity education, training and awareness linked to the potential cyber threats that European citizens are facing today in the online environment. 

With its working group on Education, Training, Awareness, Cyber Ranges, ECSO aims to contribute towards a cybersecurity capability and capacity-building effort for a cyber resilient next generation digital Europe, through increased education, professional training, skills development, as well as actions on awareness-raising, expertise-building and gender inclusiveness. With one of its goals being to federate the European cybersecurity community, ECSO provided valuable input coming from the larger cybersecurity community to the EESC members and other stakeholders working in cybersecurity and consumer protection.

“Sharing the results of our work and comparing it with other stakeholders at European level showed us that we are moving in the right direction”, said Nina Olesen, ECSO Head of Sector for Cybersecurity Applications & Human Factors. “Having an informed civil society and educating citizens and users is crucial if we want to really benefit from today’s rapid technological advancements. This is why at ECSO our work also places emphasis on activities that educate and raise awareness in civil society of cybersecurity topics”, she added.

In a European forum composed by representatives from the European Commission’s DG CNCT, ENISA and the EESC, ECSO presented its latest achievements and future plans related to education and awareness raising. “Our job is to reach identified target audiences and provide digestible information while avoiding cybersecurity fatigue with run-of-the-mill campaigns. For this reason, it is important to build up more targeted campaigns (e.g., for consumers: on connected devices / Internet of Things (IoT)), organising competitions and engaging actively with and empowering the citizens to improve their digital skills and knowledge”, said Ms Olesen, who also touched upon topics such as cyber hygiene and cybercrime. “Cyber hygiene is an important topic when it comes to having informed and responsible users. It should be a natural part of people’s daily routine, like washing your hands. Always think twice about opening an email, trusting a link, and keep your personal devices as secure as possible. Cybercrime is on the up and the modus operandi is shifting more and more towards social engineering. Cybercriminals are exploiting the human psychology to get people to give up information or to gain access to systems. Solutions should therefore also be human-centric and geared towards facilitating a change in mindset and behaviours”, she concluded.

During the discussion with the EESC members, the importance of education, already in primary schools, was especially highlighted. With its Youth4Cyber initiative, ECSO is committed to engaging more strongly in this area in the years to come.

ECSO continuously works to increase the dialogue between the industry and citizens for societal / cultural challenges such as awareness but also privacy, citizens’ rights, IDs, data ownership & acceptability, etc. For those who wish to get involved, or simply would like to learn more about cybersecurity, the ECSO Team invites you to join its multi-stakeholder membership and to keep an eye on the ECSO monthly Cybersecurity Awareness Calendar, which can be received straight into your inbox by subscribing to ECSO’s newsletter.

Photo credits: European Economic and Social Committee

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