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Cybercrime: New survey shows Europeans feel better informed but remain concerned

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Today, the Commission releases its latest survey on Europeans’ attitudes towards cybercrime.

The results show that awareness of cybercrime is rising, with 52% of respondents stating they are fairly well or very well informed about cybercrime, up from 46% in 2017. Europeans are however growing less confident about their capacity to stay safe online: 59% of Internet users think they can protect themselves sufficiently against cybercrime, down from 71% in 2017.

Respondents worry about misuse of their personal data, fraud, being locked out of their computer and forced to pay ransom to access their own data, as well as about identity theft. More than a third have received fraudulent emails or phone calls asking for personal details in the last three years; 8% fell victim to ransomware, and 11% had their social media account or email account hacked. This has an impact on their willingness to use online services: for example, 10% say their concerns make them less likely to make purchases online.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas said: “Fighting cybercrime is a key part of our work towards building a Union that protects its citizens. Cybercriminals know no borders. This is why we will continue to support cooperation and exchange of information between law enforcement authorities and make sure they have the right tools and skills to address the challenges of the digital age.”

Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson added: “We need to do more to raise awareness about threats and about ways to stay safe online, but we cannot stop at prevention alone. We need to close the growing gap between capabilities of criminals and those of law enforcement authorities. This will be one of the priorities in our new way forward on internal security.

Keeping Europeans safe online is a priority for the Commission. The EU has advanced in the fight against cybercrime, with for instance stronger rules against online payment fraud and better assistance to victims. The EU also helps building up the capacity of law enforcement authorities to tackle cybercrime, with the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol supporting Member States by providing tools, expertise, and coordination of police action. More generally, the EU supports Member States’ cybersecurity preparedness and promotes swift and effective cooperation on cybersecurity issues, through a comprehensive legal framework including the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive), the EU Cybersecurity Act, the European Blueprintfor coordinated response to large-scale cybersecurity incidents and the Recommendation on cybersecurity of 5G networks. This legal framework helps foster cooperation among Member States and protect critical infrastructure, businesses and citizens as well as enhance the EU’s ability to protect itself against attacks by malicious actors and to deal with emerging cybersecurity risks. In addition, through its research and innovation funding programmes the European Commission is investing billions of euros in cybersecurity research, infrastructure and deployment.

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Digitalization: key to implementing an inclusive and sustainable economic model in Latin America

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Latin American manufacturing has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with significant decreases in industrial production, intra-regional trade and exports compounding existing barriers to growth. However, accelerated digitalization prompted by the crisis offers an opportunity for transformation, closer intra-regional cooperation and trade integration, according to a webinar panel of experts convened by the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) Digital Series on “Latin America and the Caribbean: Manufacturing and Economic Growth in the post-Covid-19 Era”.

Silvia Hooker Ortega, Manager of International Affairs at the National Society of Industries in Peru, observed that enterprises in several Latin American countries had re-shored capital, worsening regional trade and production, with a fall of 22 per cent in exports expected regionally. “This challenge consists of rethinking previous models of development and moving towards more sectoral models, where we can invest in capacity-building and research in order to generate regional value chains that allow us to grow in the region, generate decent employment and ensure that a crisis such as the current one does not affect us so drastically in the development of our countries,” observed Hooker Ortega.

Clemente Ruiz Durán, National Researcher of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, noted that digitalization had allowed the region´s economy to continue functioning. He stated that public investment in digitalization would enable sustainable energy, mobility, communication and transport systems. Ruiz Durán also urged pairing initiatives between micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and large firms for integration in regional value chains, and training programmes. “I propose to turn our eyes towards Latin America instead of the rest of the world,” he said. “I believe that this is a great opportunity and if we do it well, it can be the beginning of a redefinition of industrial development in Latin America,” concluded Ruiz Durán.

Tomás Karagozian, President, UIA Joven/Unión Industrial Argentina, stressed the importance of a regionalized economy, advocating for increased dialogue and consensus in order to “overcome recurring crises that we go through every four to five years.” Karagozian noted that, while digitalization had accelerated during the pandemic, and the region is poised to benefit from productivity increases, Latin America continues to face issues of management and leadership, and value chain integration. “I believe that we must all work on digitalization and (…) towards stronger and more consolidated productive matrices at local level with a great regional connection, and with global participation in terms of information exchange, digitalization and sharing of experiences,” urged Karagozian.

Concluding the discussion, Diego Masera, Chief of the Regional Coordination Division for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said the crisis as an opportunity to move towards sustainability, social equity and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. “Indeed, this crisis provides an opportunity to change our approach to the development of manufacturing in the region. In this regard, we must focus our energies on supporting more inclusive, sustainable and people-centred development,” he urged.

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Use Growth Services to Create an Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign

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While the increasing use of the internet and a good chunk of our social lives going online has benefited us in many ways, it has also given rise to a whole new set of problems that we have yet to find solutions to. One of the more pressing matters amongst these is cyberbullying. The problem with cyberbullying is that online platforms’ anonymity and nature allow these situations to get out of hand really fast. We can use social media to campaign against and raise awareness about cyberbullying. It is a good idea to use growth services such as SimplyGram growth service to get your anti-cyberbullying campaign to reach more people.

The Dangers of Cyberbullying

While many people might dismiss cyberbullying as something that can easily be avoided, in reality, it may even be more dangerous than traditional bullying. Because an online space is always available, a child can’t escape bullying by, for example, avoiding school because it will follow them home. Cyberbullying can go from insults to widespread harassment, and as more and more people start using the internet and social platforms, this problem only becomes worse.

Cyberbullying and cyberharassment tactics include doxxing and publishing people’s personally identifiable information online without consent, leading to their security being compromised. It can also include other tactics like trolling that may appear less severe but can cause an equal amount of emotional and mental distress to the victim. Information on social platforms can also be easily faked, and many people don’t look for verification either. People’s tendency to ‘ride the wave’ also means that harassment can grow to extreme levels, with hundreds of people bullying one person based on false information.

Using Social Media Growth Services to Fight Cyberbullying

To fight cyberbullying, the first step is to spread awareness. Many people don’t take internet activity seriously, resulting in cyberbullying being even more harmful to the victim. Using social media to create an anti-cyberbullying campaign, you can help people understand how hurtful cyberbullying can be and how to prevent it.

The first step to do this is to understand who your target audience is. In the past, bullying was often associated with school settings, but many adults can also be caught up in harassment with the changing online environment. What’s important is to pick a target audience, such as a specific school, and address issues within that demographic.

By using growth services such as SimplyGram, you can expand and spread your campaign’s reach, allowing more and more people to see cyberbullying for the toxic, abusive act it is, rather than dismiss it as child’s play on the internet. By spreading awareness and reaching more people with a growth service, you can help the victims to speak up. They will know that they will be taken seriously, and their problems will not be swept under the rug.

Cyberbullying has often resulted in many people harming themselves, falling into depression and self-isolation, and in some extreme cases, even suicide. A good social media campaign supplemented by an organic growth service will prevent these things from happening. These services grow your social media outreach, which means your campaign will be more effective. By growing your follower base with real people and using the right hashtags made specifically for the campaign, you can reach more and more people and help weaken the growing problem of cyberbullying.

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UN agencies uphold human rights considerations in COVID-19 data collection

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A coronavirus trace and track app is displayed on a mobile phone screen. Unsplash/Pascal Brändle

The United Nations and 15 of its agencies have underlined their support for data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic which respects the right to privacy and promotes development. 

Mobility data derived from phones, emails and social media, for example, can assist in both monitoring the spread of the virus and in implementing activities the UN is mandated to carry out, according to their joint statement issued on Thursday. 

However, they warned that vast amounts of sensitive data, both personal and non-personal, can be collected through digital contact tracing and general health surveillance. 

“This could have significant effects beyond the initial crisis response phase, including, if such measures are applied for purposes not directly or specifically related to the COVID-19 response, potentially leading to the infringement of fundamental human rights and freedoms”, they said. 

“This concern is especially pressing if some emergency measures introduced to address the pandemic, such as digital contact tracing, are turned into standard practice.” 

Critical role of human rights 

In May, the UN Secretary-General issued a policy brief highlighting how human rights are critical to shaping pandemic response, as they put people “centre-stage” while also preserving human dignity. 

The UN entities stressed that in the context of the pandemic, any data collection by the UN system should be rooted in human rights and applicable international law, data protection and privacy principles. 

“Any measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic should also be consistent with the mandates of the respective UN System Organizations and take into account the balancing of relevant rights, including the right to health and life and the right to economic and social development”, they said. 

Data collection precedent 

In this regard, they outlined five points, including that data collection should be lawful, limited in scope and time, and necessary to specified legitimate purposes for pandemic response. 

They also underscored the need to ensure confidentiality, security and proper destruction or deletion of any data. 

“A coordinated and inclusive global UN-wide response rooted in solidarity is necessary to contain the pandemic and minimize its negative impact across the world,” the UN partners said. 

Although the statement addressed the challenges of the current pandemic, they suggested that it may serve as a precedent for using data to respond to any future crises.

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