More than 120,000 UAE school students partake in cybersecurity awareness program to mark Cyber Defense Day | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

  • The initiative has already secured the participation of over 520 school champions.

Dubai, UAE: The UAE Cyber Security Council, in collaboration with Core42 and KPMG, has announced the launch of Cyber Defense Day – an innovative educational initiative designed to equip young people with cybersecurity preparedness.

The virtual gamified event will be held on November 16, with the collaboration of strategic partners the Education and Human Resources Council, Ministry of Education, Emirates Schools Establishment, Department of Education and Knowledge, Sharjah Private Education Authority, and the participation of Dubai private schools. It will bring together over 120,000 grade 5-8 students, as they attempt to establish a nationwide campaign through a custom-designed ‘Minecraft Education’ game, which will teach them to safeguard against cyber-attacks. The initiative has already secured the participation of over 520 school champions (teachers) who will collaborate on coordinating within each school.

Dr. Mohamad Al Kuwaiti, Head of the UAE Cyber Security Council, said: “Empowering students against the risks and dangers of cyber-attacks is a vital step to ensure the safety of our citizens. We are delighted to have schools across the UAE join us in this crucial initiative to build cyber resilience at the grassroots level.”

Dr. Mohammed highlighted that the Cyber Defense Day initiative aims to raise cybersecurity awareness among students. The focus is on risks like heightened vulnerability due to extensive online gaming, increasing cyber-attacks on these games, susceptibility to cyberbullying, and the risk of youth recruitment by extremist groups.

He emphasized the initiative’s commitment to addressing emerging cybersecurity threats, including advanced malware attacks using artificial intelligence. Dr. Mohammed also expressed his enthusiasm that the initiative aligns with the UAE’s 50 initiatives, promoting a safer digital future and culture.

Talal Al Kaissi, EVP, Chief Product and Global Partnerships Officer at Core42, commented: “In an age where digital boundaries are constantly being redefined, proactively preparing the younger generation to confront cybersecurity challenges helps instill a mindset of vigilance and adaptability in our future leaders. This initiative readies participants for tomorrow’s online challenges, fostering a resilient digital future.”

Tim Wood, Head of Cybersecurity at KPMG LG, added: “The influence of educators in shaping students’ comprehension of cybersecurity is immeasurable. This initiative not only emphasizes online safety but also aims to set a nationwide record, symbolizing the collective commitment to a secure digital environment.”

Teachers will play a pivotal role in guiding students through the Cyber Defense Day initiative. A champion network of teachers has been selected from each school to receive comprehensive materials to facilitate classroom discussions, share cyber safety activities, and assist students in navigating the educational challenges within Minecraft.

In addition, teachers will also facilitate access to the Minecraft Education game and offer thought-provoking cyber safety discussion starters. On completion, students will receive cybersecurity certificates to acknowledge their participation and contribution to setting a nationwide record.

“Inculcating cyber awareness at a young age is pivotal for a safer digital future,” added Tim Wood. “We are very excited by the overwhelming turnout and hope the initiative has sparked a passion for cybersecurity among students.”

The Cyber Defense Day primarily targets Grade 5-8 students; however, teachers can expand participation to a wider age range of students, based on their discretion.

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