Scheme to help private sector prevent and address cyber attacks launched

€250,000 scheme will enable firms to assess their vulnerability to cyber attacks and train their staff to prevent and address breaches

Parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri launched the scheme today
Parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri launched the scheme today

The government has launched a new scheme designed to bolster the private sector’s defences against cyber threats, offering risk assessment and training opportunities for firms.

As cyber attacks become more common and increasingly dangerous for private entities, the "B Secure" scheme aims to entice local firms to evaluate and plan the enhancement of their cyber security posture, whilst creating a culture of more awareness of the risks of such attacks.

The scheme, which will require an initial government investment of €250,000, was launched by Digital Economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri on Wednesday during Malta’s first Cyber Security Summit.

Schembri said that the government and the international community at large had placed cyber security at the top of its agenda, with national funds for the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) having been increased in the recent Budget.

“The government fully thinks that cyber security should also be on the agenda of private industry. It is an issue which affects us all,” he said.

The B Secure scheme – which comes following the 2016 launch of the country’s national security strategy and after a number of awareness-raising campaigns – aims to instil a cyber security mentality in the private sector, Schembri underscored.

It will see company executives trained regarding the recent cyber threat landscape, how they can mitigate potential breaches and how to address cyber security incidents and adapt a cyber hygiene mentality.

The cyber training will include courses for systems auditors and managers. A tech-partner will be provided to deliver training, assess risk and draft a report listing the vulnerabilities found in the company and the mitigation measures needed.

The scheme will provide a strong basis for private companies to build upon.

 “Cyber threats are constantly evolving, both in a global and local context, so we must anticipate them and be prepared,” Schembri said, highlighting that companies which did not build their resilience to such attacks risked losing millions of euro in the event that they are targeted.

40% of businesses have experienced cyber attacks

A survey has shown that 40% of local businesses have suffered a cyber attacks, with 83% of large organisations falling victim to at least one cyber security incident.

The main types of attacks are fraudulent emails, scam calls, and the surreptitious installation of malicious software and ransomware.

“The questions becomes: when, not if, this will this happen to me, and how much will a cyber attack cost? And you don’t even want to imagine the cost… we know of a case where a business was destroyed because of a cyber attack,” Schembri said.

The services offered by the scheme will commence in January 2020, with 220 people expected to be trained.

Registration, on a first come first served basis, opens today for all private companies, and closes on 24 November.

The Cyber Security Summit was organised by Cyber Security Malta in collaboration with the Digital Economy Parliamentary Secretariat, MITA, the Malta Chamber Of Commerce and Tech.mt.

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