Cyber-hygiene is important!

Representatives of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) CRDF Global (USA) proposed to implement free online course on cyberhygiene "Basic rules of security in the digital environment " in our university. It is developed by its experts in collaboration with cybersecurity experts and with the support of the US State Department's Office for Coordination of Assistance in Europe and Eurasia . 

This course is already taught to students of four Ukrainian universities, so Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute will be 5th in this list. 

Adherence to cyber-hygiene, ie the basic rules of digital security when working on the world wide web and using various services offered by modern technologies, is now becoming a matter of human security. After all, the number of Internet frauds, facts of intrusion into personal space, dissemination of false information, etc. is now becoming an epidemic. Therefore, cyber-hygiene has become not only a topical topic of discussion in society, but also the subject of study and development of rules for its use. The proposed course will allow students to learn about the main threats in the digital space, understand what information is the main goal of hackers and learn the basic recommendations for protecting their data, as well as the safe use of electronic devices and information resources. 

A meeting of CRDF Global and Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute representatives, which took place on-line on October 28, was devoted  to the discussion of the practical aspects of the course implementation. Oleksiy Novikov, Director of the Institute of Physics and Technology, which trains specialists in cybersecurity and information security, and Yevhen Polishchuk, Deputy Head of the Department of International Cooperation, took part in it on behalf of our university. CRDF Global was represented by Mykhailo Verych, Deputy Manager of Cybersecurity programs of its Representation, and his staf members - Iryna Tsyvkovska and Olha Gaponenko.  

"The course is taught not only in Ukraine, but also in six Balkan countries and Moldova," Mykhailo Verych said at the beginning of the meeting. "We also plan to implement it in Georgia, Belarus (of course, we will take into account the situation there) and in other post-Soviet countries."  In addition, according to him, promoting the improvement of cyber-defence of state institutions of Ukraine and providing them with appropriate assistance, organizing training in security rules in the digital environment for civil servants and more are among the areas of today's activities of the Foundation. So, the start of cooperation in this direction can be very promising for Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Moreover, it is promising not only in terms of implementing a specific concise program on cyber-hygiene, but also the establishment of partnerships on broader topics that may be of interest to both parties. As one of the participants of the meeting noted, this program can become a "point of entry" into further broad cooperation. 

It is worth mentioning, that rather prosperous contacts between CRDF Global and Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute have already taken place in the past. Oleksiy Novikov mentioned them: this is the victorious participation of our students in hackathons and some of its other projects, and the Foundation's participation in organizing, holding and awarding winners of one of the festivals "Sikorsky Challenge" and others. Among the areas that could be potentially interesting for further cooperation and serious development are CRDF Global's assistance in publishing the recently established IPT magazine "Theoretical and Applied Cyber-security" (whose publications, by the way, directly address a wide range of cyber-security issues), assistance in gaining access to specialized training courses and special software for students majoring in 125 "Cyber-security" and others.

The next step in organizing the implementation of the on-line course "Basic Safety Rules in the Digital Environment" should be the signing of a memorandum, which will be prepared by experts from both sides, and address the issue of when to start the course. Most likely, students will be able to join it from the beginning of the next semester. Those, who will go through all on-line course modules (11 total) and take a final test, will get registered certificates. In addition, CRDF Global promises to present gift cards, as a reward for successfully finished course, to students who give at least 80% correct answers to test questions. However, this is a question of the future, and for now the organizers on both sides will solve purely technical issues. The main thing is that a principled agreement on cooperation has been reached.

 "As the name suggests, this course is more focused on students studying in technical specialities not directly related to computer engineering, or on students who study humanities- the director of the Institute of Physics and Technology Oleksiy Novikov commented on the results of the meeting. - In recent years, CRDF Global has been actively implementing the educational component in the field of cyber-security and is actively cooperating in this area with public authorities and universities of Ukraine. Therefore, the proposed cooperation may be developed on more specialized topics aimed at students majoring in 125 "Cyber-security". Moreover, IPT students have already participated in some hackathons and other cyber-security events organized by the Foundation, and one of our students even won such a competition and as a winner visited a partner university of CRDF Global, which trains cyber-security professionals, in USA. 

For reference: CRDF Global (US Civilian Research and Development Foundation) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the development of security, protection and stability in the world through science and innovation. The organization was founded in 1995 by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote international scientific and technical cooperation through grants, technical resources and training for scientists, researchers and innovators. The Central Office of CRDF Global  locates in Arlington (Virginia, USA).