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CISA Launches High-Risk Communities Webpage: A Cyber Defense Initiative – The Cyber Express

These resources empower individuals to enhance their cyber hygiene effectively, serving as the first line of defense against malicious cyber activities.

by Samiksha Jain April 3, 2024 in Cybersecurity News, Firewall Daily Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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In a bid to enhance cybersecurity resilience among civil society organizations vulnerable to digital threats, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency () has unveiled its innovative .

This initiative, developed in collaboration with government entities, private industry partners, and civil society organizations, aims to provide tailored resources and support to those at heightened risk due to the nature of their work.

High-Risk Communities webpage: Empowering Non-Technical Personnel

The newly launched webpage hosts a plethora of cybersecurity resources, chief among them being . Designed to bridge the cybersecurity expertise gap prevalent in many non-governmental organizations, Project Upskill offers easy-to-follow guides tailored for non-technical personnel associated with high-risk organizations. These resources empower individuals to bolster their cyber hygiene effectively, serving as the first line of defense against malicious cyber activities.

CISA Director Jen Easterly emphasized the significance of collective efforts in crafting actionable resources to safeguard organizations championing democracy and human rights against cyber threats.

“With experts across government and the private sector, we collaborated extensively to identify and develop actionable and easy-to-use resources for . We will continue to solicit input and feedback from partners across civil society as we collectively work to safeguard those organizations advancing democracy and human rights against cyber threats,” said Easterly.

“CISA is especially pleased in the public-private collaboration that led to the development and publication of these resources, reflecting shared commitment across government, industry, and civil society,” he added.

Furthermore, the High-Risk Communities initiative aligns with the priorities of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), fostering collaboration between the government and the private sector to achieve specific risk reduction goals. It serves as a centralized hub for civil society organizations seeking cybersecurity guidance, streamlining access to essential resources.

Comprehensive Support for Civil Society

CISA's efforts extend beyond the launch of the High-Risk Communities webpage, with additional plans aimed at supporting civil society organizations. Project Upskill, in particular, addresses the stark reality revealed by research from the CyberPeace Institute, indicating a lack of cybersecurity expertise and dedicated resources within many non-governmental organizations.

Moreover, the initiative highlights a range of free or discounted cybersecurity tools and services available to high-risk communities. From Cloudflare's Project Galileo offering free cybersecurity protection to Google's Advanced Protection Program enhancing account safeguards, these resources fortify the defenses of mission-based organizations against cyber threats.

The initiative also facilitates connections between prospective volunteers and local cyber volunteer clinics across the United States. With academic institutions, non-profits, and municipalities establishing cybersecurity clinics, CISA's webpage serves as a centralized platform for volunteers to learn about opportunities and for qualifying organizations to obtain assistance.

Promoting Democratic Values in the Digital Age

Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the critical role of technology in upholding democratic values and norms, particularly in the face of authoritarian regimes leveraging technology to undermine democracy and human rights. Through partnerships spanning civil society, technology companies, and governments, initiatives like the High-Risk Communities webpage contribute to fostering a rights-respecting digital world.

“As authoritarian and repressive regimes deploy technologies to undermine democracy and human rights, we need to ensure that technology sustains and supports democratic values and norms.” We believe that the work initiated through this partnership across civil society, technology companies, the US government, and international partner governments we are contributing to a rights-respecting digital world,” stated Blinken.

In essence, CISA's High-Risk Communities initiative represents a proactive step towards empowering vulnerable civil society organizations with the tools and knowledge necessary to defend against evolving cyber threats. By fostering collaboration and providing accessible resources, the initiative embodies a collective commitment to safeguarding democratic principles in the digital age.

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