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Google opens new cybersecurity centre in Spain – EURACTIV.com | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Google opened the doors of its third Cybersecurity Centre in Europe on Wednesday (29 November), pledging $10 million for cyber skills training.

The Málaga-based Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) is the third such centre in Europe. In 2019, Google launched a centre in Munich focusing on privacy and security engineering, and in 2020, another one in Dublin to address content responsibility.

“The launch of Google’s new GSEC not only contributes to a safer future for all but also cements Malaga’s status as a thriving technological hub,” Jose Carlos Delgado Gómez, Cyber Attaché for Spain, told Euractiv.

The 2500-metre-squared former military administrative building has the capacity for up to 100 Google engineers and staff from other teams, such as the market leader in threat intelligence, Mandiant and the Málagan-born startup VirusTotal.

VirusTotal was acquired by Google in 2012 and is a leading crowdsourced threat-sharing platform.

“The opening of the centre is also a signal that global tech companies understand that Europe is a place to invest their talents and a place where cyber experts are valued to help our citizens,” Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament, said.

With the launch of GSEC Màlaga, Google also announced a $10 million pledge to advance the development of cybersecurity skills and training at European universities and assist local community organisations.

“The European Union has estimated there are up to 500,000 [cybersecurity experts] too few last year. The implications of filling this skills gap can’t be overstated,” said Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs at Google and Alphabet.

In its 2023 Global Risk Report, the World Economic Forum ranked widespread cybercrime and insecurity among the top ten short and long-term economic risks. Europol monitored an increase in ransomware attacks against public institutions and businesses.

Charanzová described the cyber threat landscape as a cat-and-mouse game that is only getting worse.

Despite the actions of the EU, many are also looking to the private sector to protect institutions, businesses, and citizens fully.

“We will always be under-skilled, under-budgeted and unable to adapt quickly enough to all new threats. This is why we need to develop our public-private partnerships,” the lawmaker added.

Building EU Cyber Resilience 

In partnership with the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative, Google will support the $10 million pledge to the EU Cyber-skills Academy.

As part of the program, universities across Europe will be offered cybersecurity training materials and curricula to allow students from all academic backgrounds to connect. According to Google, no prior experience or prerequisites are needed to participate in the cybersecurity courses.

“I’m delighted to be able to count Google among the community of pledgers to the Academy. As of today, I can only hope that your commitment will inspire other companies to make similar pledges,” Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the EU Commission, remarked.

Intended to fill the cyber talent gap, the Academy aims to bring together the private sector to train, upskill, and reskill professionals across Europe.

“Overall, we expect to enrol 6,000 hundred students in the initial program and to help more than 3,200 different organisations across Europe increase and improve their cyber defences,” Walker added.

“It is difficult to get some of the world’s best talent into the US, and having an EU centre of excellence shows a significant maturation in their [Google’s] approach,” Patrick Wheeler, director of the workforce development program CyberWayFinder, told Euractiv.

The new training programme is also designed to help bring more people from all backgrounds into the field, such as women, who only hold a quarter of the jobs in the field of cybersecurity.

“The EU needs to create skilled people in cybersecurity, and partnering with global leaders is beneficial. However, one needs to ensure that the values of the EU are part of any EU educational effort,” Wheeler remarked.

The answer is AI

At the launch of a new Google cybersecurity centre in Europe, VirusTotal disclosed new research demonstrating how AI is extremely effective in analysing malicious code, identifying 70% more malicious scripts with three times more accuracy than traditional techniques.

“While it’s concerning to see adware masquerading as AI products online, it’s reassuring that AI can help detect and prevent a common vulnerability or exploit,” Phil Venables, VP of Trusted Infrastructure Security and Chief Information Security Officer of Google Cloud, explained.

The research complements Google Cloud’s Cybersecurity Forecast 2024 released last month, which anticipated that LLM (large language models) and generative AI could be utilised for cybersecurity in the future.

“For cyber defenders, that means offering deeper insights into the purpose and the operation of malicious code and […] significantly enhancing the ability to detect and mitigate threats,” Walker concluded.

[Edited by Luca Bertuzzi/Nathalie Weatherald]

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