• The Independent on Sunday
  • Saturday, 07 April 2012

Given that the Internet has become such an important commodity, along with the myriads of devices from computers, to laptops, tablet devices and mobile phones, the need for understanding and acting on the basic principles of Cyber Awareness in order to adequately protect ourselves has become essential

It is all too apparent how easily people forget, particularly with social networking, that they constantly risk exposing intimate details about themselves, their behaviour, their whereabouts and movements, their unique identity details, potentially to a myriad of strangers, all of which can compromise the safety of their own personal information, relationships and property. An ironic example is in the UK where for many years there has been a constant public resistance to the introduction of National ID cards for privacy reasons, and yet millions of the same people will readily provide even more intimate details to a far wider audience through social networks.

During 2011 and 2012 the ICT GM Project and its co-founder Synaptic Laboratories Limited have been busy helping to build up public awareness of these critical issues and how we can all do our part towards keeping ourselves safe online.

As part of the Annual Cyber Awareness Month 2011, now growing Internationally, Synaptic Laboratories and ICT Gozo Malta created a comprehensive set of excellent cyber awareness resources published on the ICT Gozo Malta website to aid people at all levels, from seasoned ICT professionals, to businesses, parents and educators, to teens and even kids, to safely use computers to help protect them from cyber crime and safeguard our nation’s Internet infrastructure from cyber criminals.  By visiting the ICT Gozo Malta project website, everyone can quickly link to the best resources from around the world, including Malta’s own excellent Be Smart Online resources.

For example the Malta Be Smart Online! project has sections for Kids, Teens, Parents and Educators. It provides information on how to use the Internet safely. It also provides the contact points in Malta for reporting Internet abuse, and where to get support for victims.

Other resources you can access include the UK Get Safe Online  project which has comprehensive sections including videos on Protecting yourself and your family, Protecting your PC, Protecting your (small) Business, and Resources for Parents, Teachers and Young People.  

We also provide the links to the European Network Information Security Agency (ENISA) that offer a series of highly accessible video clips on good information security practices that can be downloaded and/or displayed in any information security training programme, awareness activity for example in the office or at home or at school, or company website.  ENISA also offer an excellent range of free photo-quality posters for raising information security awareness in organisations, and for parents.  

We also link to other resources including from Australia, the USA and organisations such as InSafe which unites 30 National Cyber Security Awareness Centres in 27 countries in the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland and Russia.  

This vast and totally free cyber awareness resource clearing house for the many international initiatives is available from one place via the ICT Gozo Malta Portal at www.ictgozomalta.eu/cyber-security-awareness.html . We encourage everyone to read through and utilise the most relevant or appropriate resources to make your future a safer one. We also welcome any suggestions for further improving and/or adding more relevant links to this resource.

As part of the ICT Gozo Malta initiative, and to encourage participation and collaboration at all levels, both locally and Internationally we have also created a skills register where ICT professionals, graduates and students can come together and demonstrate the wide skills available in Malta.

We have also launched an ICT Skills survey, which is anonymous and does not require registration. The skills survey takes just 15 minutes and your participation will be much valued. To take part in the survey go to www.ictgozomalta.eu/events/online-skills-survey.html .

ICT Gozo Malta co-founder Synaptic Labs, has recently completed production of 2 new cyber security video presentations: ( a ) Synaptic Labs’ Annual Report Surveying the Global Cyber Safety and Security Status, and ( b ) Synaptic Labs’ Annual Report Surveying Key Cyber Security Technical Problems, Drivers and Incentives. Both of these videos are available for streaming from your web-browser, for download to play on your iPhone/Android and also as slide-shows in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. For readers with very limited time available, please note that all key messages can be quickly accessed via those slide shows. The spoken audio in the video is almost identical to the written content in the slide shows.

The first video presentation is a very high-level overview of the global cyber status and builds the case for lay-people (as well as safety and security experts) showing that today’s mainstream cyber-security ecosystem is fundamentally flawed and that this places the entire community at risk.

The second video presentation summarises the technical problems with mainstream computing architectures, global electronic identity management, the Internet infrastructure, and mainstream operating systems. The presentation also outlines Synaptic Labs’ proposals to address many of these key these issues with its world leading international collaborators.

These two presentations include video footage of very strong statements made by many world-leading E.U. and U.S. security experts on the current state of affairs in cyber security. Often these were originally inside statements made to security experts, but they deserve a much wider audience. For example, on several occasions the videos quote Melissa Hathaway, who led the extremely influential U.S. Government’s Cyberspace Policy Review. For example, Melissa says: “I think it is unconscionable that our leaders are not talking about what is really happening and some of it is because of the fear that we are going to lose trust in the core infrastructure and/or that we are going to lose public confidence.” (2010)

These videos are being viewed around the world and have been referenced by others, for example in the “Security Affairs” blog ( http://securityaffairs.co/ ) run by Pierluigi Paganini, a security expert with over 20 years experience, and Director of Operations for Bit4id company in Italy.

Prof. Ken Sakamura, from Tokyo University, Chairperson of the international T-Engine Forum which has approx. 300 member organisations including the largest corporations in Japan, provided (2012) the following unsolicited feedback: “We have been very impressed with your recent activities including the symposium last year and the well written PPT presentations on your web sites” . Synaptic Labs is now exploring collaboration with the T-Engine group as part of the ICT GM Project Roadmap. These are just two more examples of the positive international promotion of Malta created through the ICT GM project.

Cyber security is a shared responsibility. By becoming aware of what you can do then you are making a solid contribution towards protecting yourself, your family and friends and our communities.

ICT Gozo Malta, co-founded by The Gozo Business Chamber and Synaptic Labs Limited, was part financed by the Government of Malta - Ministry for Gozo through Eco-Gozo – A Better Gozo Action plan 2010-2012. Further details about the eco-gozo program can be found at www.eco-gozo.com.

To find out more about the ICT Gozo Malta project contact

David Pace at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . A collaborative project co founded by the Gozo Business Chamber and Synaptic Laboratories Ltd

Eco-Gozo – a Better Gozo Action Plan 2010 – 2012.

Project part financed by the Government of Malta - Ministry for Gozo, www.eco-gozo.com

GBC1 SLL-Logo_150  A Collaborative Project co founded by
PaceIT & The Gozo Business Chamber and
Synaptic Laboratories Ltd

Eco Gozo Logo

Eco-Gozo – a Better Gozo Action Plan 2010 – 2012
Project part-financed by the Government of Malta - Ministry for Gozo
www.eco-gozo.com