In commemoration of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) is hosting a cybersecurity awareness training session for heads of public sector agencies at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
The session aims to empower the agencies with the knowledge necessary to secure their digital data.
Global Cybersecurity Month is being celebrated under the theme: “Secure our World.”
Georgetown, Guyana: The General Manager of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), Mr. Christopher Deen, noting the urgency of dealing with cyber security threats, is advising all Heads of Government Ministries and Agencies to report all cybersecurity threats as soon as they are detected.
He gave this advice on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at the NDMA’s cybersecurity training for Heads of Public Sector Agencies, hosted at the Authur Chung Conference Center. The event signaled the official launch of Cybersecurity Month which is observed annually in October.
Mr. Deen reminded the participating Agency Heads that cyber incidents do not go away on their own, noting that NDMA’s ICT specialists have the expertise to deal with these incidents but the team can only do so if reports are made to NDMA.
“Please do not wait until the mold spreads throughout the entire organization and the walls begin to crumble before you take action. NDMA would have heard from some of you; we would have engaged, we would have provided technical support, and we would have assisted you (in the past) and we stand ready to do so now.”
Mr. Deen further disclosed that NDMA has a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC) which provides 24-hour technical service on cyber security issues. All government agencies are urged to take advantage of these experts if there is ever a cyber security threat within their organization.
The General Manager said that NDMA is committed to sharing its expertise with ICT specialists at the various entities to aid in developing their internal capacity.
“NDMA is here to offer you a helping hand. This (NDMA) is not an agency that will be running around dictating to you in a carrot and stick method; we are here to offer you a helping hand to develop your capacity in-house because we cannot do it alone and we must work together to build this capacity in our country, in government, across Guyana.”
Echoing similar sentiments, NDMA’s Cyber Security Specialist, Mahendra Kissoon, expounded on the fact that collaboration is paramount in promoting safe cyber spaces. He disclosed that NDMA detected and mitigated some 442 malware attacks at several government agencies in the first quarter of 2023 alone. This data he explained comes from NDMA’s Security Operations Center (SOC) semiannual summary report for 2023.
Mr. Kissoon during his presentation, advised that cyber security issues need immediate action to mitigate any lasting damages. He encouraged those present to report any cybersecurity issues so that ICT specialists could offer their expertise on a way forward.
He noted that there is a direct relationship between security and risks, explaining that the stronger the security, the smaller the risks of cyberattacks will be. Mr. Kissoon encouraged the group to employ the necessary systems to mitigate these threats and prevent the loss of sensitive information.
On Wednesday, over 20 students of Tucville Secondary School, Georgetown benefitted from the National Data Management Authority’s (NDMA) cybersecurity training session.
The students received basic online security content including cyberbullying, phishing, online grooming, oversharing, creating strong passwords, and software updates.
The training sessions are being conducted for employees within the public sector and students in observance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
like bullying at school, on the street or home – can cause misery. You should guide your child or teenager to always tell you if this is happening to them.
Georgetown, November 06, 2023 – Keeping with our mandate of promoting safe internet use, National Data Management Authority (NDMA), during the month of October, hosted a ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Road Show for Secondary School’ providing training sessions for 1,100 students from across the country.
This initiative, which tackled twelve (12) schools across six administrative regions, was part of NDMA’s series of activities in recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month with is observed globally.
NDMA believes these training sessions were especially important due to the change in how the internet is used in the everyday lives of children and teens. UNICEF Office for Research in its 2019 report ‘Growing up in a connected world,’ noted that at the global level, it is estimated that one child in three is an internet user, and that one in three internet users is a child under 18 years of age.
With this in mind, ICT engineers from NDMA’s Cybersecurity Division engaged students in interactive sessions on the importance of safe internet use, including how to identify cyber security threats and steps to take if threats are detected. The training facilitators provided tips on setting strong passwords; identifying frauds and rogue apps; what to do if your device is lost or stolen; and how to identify cyber-grooming.
Noting that the training sessions extends beyond personal safety and security, NDMA’s Cybersecurity Director Muriana McPherson noted that the long-term benefits of these initiatives are significant to the creation of a more resilient and capable generation of digital citizens.
“The long-term benefits for these students are substantial. Firstly, the students now possess the skills and awareness necessary to navigate the digital world safely and securely. This empowers them to protect themselves and their personal information, not only in their academic pursuits but throughout their professional and personal lives.”
She added that now more than ever, children use the internet and its diverse services for both academic pursuits and recreation and emphasized that it is pivotal that they are equipped with the necessary tools to stay safe online. Ms. Mcpherson reiterated that NDMA firmly believes that children should be allowed the opportunity to utilize all that the internet has to offer, but they must also be knowledgeable about how to protect themselves while using it.
Ms. McPherson added that beyond individual empowerment, these training sessions contribute to the overall enhancement of our society’s cyber resilience. Stating “these students, armed with the knowledge gained from this training, can go on to become cybersecurity advocates and educators in their own right, amplifying the impact of our efforts.”
During the sessions, the students were also reminded that online activities remain online even after they may have been deleted from the host or receiving devices, and that it is important that they remain vigilant and cognizant of what activities they engage in while using the internet.
The cybersecurity team also advised the students of the valuable cybersecurity resources offered like Get Safe Online Guyana. Get Safe Online Guyana allows visitors to access information on safe internet practices, including guidance on protecting personal data, recognising and mitigating cyber threats, and practising online safety. The website also has a ‘Check a website’ feature which allows visitors to verify the authenticity of any website.
The schools that benefitted from the cybersecurity training include, Tucville Secondary; Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary; Cotton Field Secondary; Christianburg Wismar Multilateral Schools; Soesdyke Secondary; Leonora Secondary; Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary; Hope Secondary; Fort Wellington Secondary; Skeldon Line Path Secondary; the New Amsterdam Multilateral Secondary; and Lodge Secondary School.
The NDMA remains resolute in its mandate of disseminating public knowledge on best practices for safe internet use and advocating for overall internet safety. We firmly believe that every individual should have access to resources and information that empower them to navigate the digital landscape securely.