MORE than 60 events are taking place this week aimed at encouraging people from all walks of life in Scotland to consider taking up a career in cyber security.
Cyber Scotland Week comes amid growing concerns about the use of artificial intelligence- (AI) based technologies to ramp up the activities of hackers. These include training AI to imitate the voices of senior executives around the world to give instructions to carry out various transactions, including transferring funds.
And, earlier this month, more than 135,000 residents in an English council area were left with no online public services for nearly a week after a cyber attack.
The website of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and all its computers were attacked in a case that had all the hallmarks of a ransomware attempt, where files are scrambled until a ransom is paid.
This affected numerous council services, including online appointment bookings, planning documents and social care advice.
This year’s Cyber Scotland Week has doubled in size from the first last year, which saw events held from the Scottish Borders to the Highlands, attracting considerable media attention. Ahead of it, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has issued its latest guide to staying safe online, detailing the various types of cyber threats, as well as how people can maintain security through strong passwords and anti-virus programs on any number of devices. It included tips on using public Wi-Fi mobile devices and security on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
READ MORE: Europe warns AI reliance may pose threats to consumers
Cyber Scotland Week will see industry-led events keeping cyber security in the spotlight.
Organised by the Scottish Government and ScotlandIS, the week will showcase innovation in the cyber sector and the many economic opportunities in combatting the global cyber threat.
There will be a range of talks and workshops to raise awareness of staying safe and secure online, and a spotlight will be shone on the innovative work that is happening across Scotland’s cyber sector.
Careers in cyber security will also be highlighted – in an industry where there are many vacancies, not just in Scotland, but around the world.
The Scottish Government has created a training guide to help organisations get started in teaching everyone cyber fundamentals.
READ MORE: Boundary developing security camera which uses AI to spot intruders
This interactive document includes cyber topics for employers to teach their staff, links to available training and raising awareness of trusted partners.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has produced a free e-learning training package, Stay Safe Online: Top Tips for Staff.
Cyber Security Challenge UK has developed a number of free-to-download lesson plans and teaching ideas for secondary school-level learning and teaching.
Among the topics it covers are methods to detect and prevent cyber security threats, social engineering, penetration testing and lessons in cyber skills.
Adding some fun to the week is Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which has a series of free, interactive online cyber security lessons and toolkits, which are also aimed at secondary-level learning.
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon announces funding boost for AI firm Encompass
To mark the week, Education Scotland’s strategic director Alan Armstrong visited pupils at Royal High School in Edinburgh, which recently achieved the Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety Badge – a national programme created in partnership with Digital Schools Awards, Education Scotland and industry leaders HP and Microsoft.
The event comes as Edinburgh continues its considerable growth in response to home demand, as well as that from the rest of the UK and internationally.
There were around 50 cyber companies in 2017 and today there are more than 90.
John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, said: “Cyber Scotland Week gives people of all ages the chance to come together to understand and learn about the threat and to hear about the wealth of cyber security careers opportunities.”