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Bilbao recruits residents against cybercrime

The city’s pilot project reflects the recognition that, in parallel with the digitization of the population, it would be beneficial to establish a trust-based system to protect users.

As the pandemic pushes more and more services and activities into the online space, opportunistic cybercriminals and scammers using increasingly sophisticated tools are also trying to seize the great opportunity. Over the past year and a half, everyone has been talking about a steady increase in the number of threats, with the UK’s Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC), for example, reporting a fifteen-year increase in the number of cyber scams. by 2020.

The Spanish government of Bilbao is trying to respond to these trends, launching an urban Wi-Fi-based project to raise awareness and mitigate cybersecurity risks through training with the public. Today’s city reports this From the end of June report It turns out that if the method tested here proves successful, it will be introduced to other cities around the world as soon as possible.

According to the Mayor of Bilbao, the most important goal is to provide citizens with the tools they need to defend themselves in the online world. The project itself has already been selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies In this year’s competition finals which searches for the best urban innovations from the epidemic; It is very important to realize that if cities in the new world are to increase the digital access of their citizens at a rapid pace, they must also be protected from digital or even physical harm, and to do so they must build the necessary trust through security built from the ground up (security by design).

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In this particular location, for example, more than 100,000 people already use their city council’s free Wi-Fi daily, which is roughly a third of the total population. The government collects a wealth of anonymous metadata about these connections, which reveals, among other things, that 1 percent of connected mobile devices are inadvertently installing some form of malware or that users are visiting dangerous advertised sites on the Internet.

While the city’s Wi-Fi automatically blocks malware it identifies, there are no comments for this for device owners. To this end, the new project will create new mechanisms to identify and block threats, inform those affected that they may have installed viruses, trojans or ransomware on their devices, and now exactly what they should do.

Alerts are supplemented by online risk and cyber security training, organized by the Basque Center for Cyber ​​Security, technology partners, security agencies, training centers and associations, as well as by residents themselves. According to the mayor, these not only aim to involve as many people as possible, but also take into account the diversity of each community, such as the different needs of young people and older residents. It is crucial that this security solution is created by their participation at the beginning of the project, which will prove to be a turning point in terms of implementation.