In these uncertain times, it is vital that each of us behave like a responsible digital citizen: protecting ourselves is protecting others. The CyberPeace Institute encourages everybody to follow best practices to implement and strengthen their cyber literacy, hygiene and resilience.
In real life as online, we should do our best not to spread the virus. The following list is a curate selection of toolkits and sets of best practices, which everybody can use in their everyday life to defend themselves and avoid spreading cyber threats.
Referring to the four steps you can take to help us in our mission to stop the Infodemic and to counter cyberattacks, we have selected few examples of initiatives that can support you in becoming a more responsible digital citizen, by reinforcing and augmenting the digital skills you already have.
STOP, Be a cyber watchdog to stop the threat.
Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center
NewsGuard has identified news and information sites in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, and Germany that have been publishing misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19. With the NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari, you will see NewsGuard ratings right next to links on search engines and social media feeds across all major platforms.
- This browser extension facilitates your everyday use of the Internet, by empowering you with the capacity to spot reliable sources from misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19.
Digital First Aid Kit
Digital First Aid Kit is an online open-source project that provides preliminary support for people facing the most common types of digital threats. Designed by the Digital Defenders Partnership, this toolkit is a collaborative effort of the Rarenet Network and CiviCERT.
- If you are facing a digital emergency and you would like to understand what is happening, this Aid Kit is the right tool for you. With a comprehensive list of the most common digital issues you can encounter in this COVID-19 Infodemic, this Kit explains you the next steps to take and it directs you to the right CiviCERT team for assistance.
How to Secure your Digital Life in 2021
The UC Berkeley School of Information’s Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) created a resource that dives into how individuals can protect their lives by securing photos, videos, and financial documents, both on the computer and in the cloud. This resource provides recommendations for tools and additional materials to increase the digital security of everyone.
- If you want to better understand the key distinctions between digital privacy, security and anonymity, this is the resource for you. You can also find a quick and practical compilation of tools that are critical for keeping your digital life secure, like Two-Factor Authentication, Virtual Private Network and Password Managers.
INVESTIGATE, Be a cyber analyst to validate the claims.
Work From Home. Secure Your Business.
The Global Cyber Alliance has assembled practical steps to follow in order to secure SMEs, organizations and employees while working from home. In the initiative’s platform, you can find recommendations and links to free tools from the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit, as well as resources from GCA partner organizations and various government entities.
- From learning the basics of Two Factor Authentication (2FA) to enhancing your capacity of preventing phishing and viruses, the GCA initiative provides you with a wide variety of tools to ease the transition of working from home, while protecting yourself from the exponential growth of COVID-19 related cyberattacks.
Remote Work Readiness Series
Rapid7 is offering a series of online events aimed at supporting the global workforce to cope with the challenges posed by the remote working model. With five online events, Rapid7 is determined to share the expertise of its leadership team and in-house experts with the whole audience.
- This series will walk you through the most important steps of the remote working process, from building up and keeping a security mindset, ensuring business continuity through disruption, to resuming the standard business operations once the crisis will be passed.
COVID-19 Security Resource Library
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has launched the COVID-19 Security Resource Library for individuals and organizations to find reliable resources. This library features free and updated information on current scams, cyber threats, remote working tips and disaster relief advices.
- With this library you can find out the latest COVID-19 related online hoaxes, as well as preventive measures to protect yourself from cyber threats hiding behind an e-mail about the COVID-19 vaccine. Do not help to spread disinformation, do not facilitate cyberattacks.
CONTAIN, Be a cyber citizen to keep the community safe.
Free Cyber Hygiene e-Learning
The Estonian cybersecurity company Cybexer Technologies offers free online cyber hygiene training for general public at mycyberhygiene.com. The interactive 30-minute course is offered in 13 languages, and it gives you instant feedback on your level of cyber hygiene and on what you need to review to improve your online defense.
- Being aware of your own level of cyber hygiene is fundamental to protect yourself from growing cyber threats, as it would help you to become immune to the COVID-19 Infodemic and the cyberattacks it facilitates. Sharing this training with people around you would help to strengthen the global cyber hygiene.
Security Planner is a project of the Citizen Lab featured with Consumer Reports, aimed to providing recommendations on implementing basic online practices. This project collects expert-reviewed advice for staying safer online, and it is suitable for both beginners and more advanced users.
- If you want to learn something more about the cyber space and how to safely move around, this is probably the best time to do so. With 3 questions, the Security Planner features for you the best online practices based on your digital habits and needs. It is suitable for everyone and it empowers you to protect yourself and others from the current Infodemic.
The Surveillance Self-Defense is an initiative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, aimed to inform the public about tips, tools and how-tos for safer communications online. This guide will show you how online surveillance works at basic level, but it also offers more detailed information on the topic in the further learning sections.
- Due to the ever-changing use of surveillance measures, you may want to know more about what these measures imply and how you can defend yourself from an abuse of surveillance technology. The Surveillance Self-Defense can walk you through the instructions for installing the most suitable and secure applications, based on your habits and needs.
REPORT, Don’t let the bad actor get away with it.
No More Ransom
The “No More Ransom” project aims to help victims of ransomware retrieve their encrypted data without having to pay the criminals. The initiative is a collaborative effort of the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Kaspersky and McAfee.
- If your device gets shut down or locked because of ransomware-and maybe you do not even know what ransomware is-the No More Ransom is your go-to. Don’t let malicious strangers hold your files and devices hostage.
Digital Security Helpline
The Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline supports individuals and civil society actors to be safe online. With 24/7 services, this Helpline can help you improve your digital security practices or provide you with a rapid-response emergency assistance, If you’re already under attack.
- Being heavier reliant on the Internet without really knowing what you are doing can be frustrating, especially in an environment bombarded with news related to COVID-19. As the malicious threats are increasing, the Digital Security Helpline provides assistance to you from the very beginning to the delivery of the necessary services.
If you fall victim of a cyberattack, we strongly encourage you to report the incident to the local authorities. In addition to local authorities, you can also outreach to Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, and Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization.
These are only few of the initiatives that can help you to defend yourself and the others from the exponential threat of COVID-19 related cyber threats.
To access a more exhaustive list, please see the COVID-19 Cybersecurity Response Package created by the European Cyber Security Organization (ECSO).
Finally, feel free to contact the CyberPeace Institute at [email protected] for further information.
The CyberPeace Institute is an independent, non-profit organization with the mission to enhance the stability of cyberspace. It does so by supporting vulnerable communities, analysing attacks collaboratively, and advancing responsible behaviour in cyberspace.
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