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Microsoft-ASEAN Foundation gear up for the ASEAN Cybersecurity Skilling Programme

  • Goal is to create and nurture future cybersecurity leaders and advisors
  • Training to be delivered to 30k underserved youths in seven countries

Increased reports of cyber threats bring up an interesting opportunity – higher demand for cybersecurity skills.

First the good news. The Covid-19 pandemic has turbocharged life in Southeast Asia (SEA) into the digital economy, quicker than has been predicted. How quick, you ask?  Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella put it succinctly when he said Microsoft saw two years of digital transformation in two months.

Now the not so good news. With more and more of life moving online, bad actors smell opportunity, and are striking. According to Cyber Signals, a new quarterly cyber threat intelligence brief from Microsoft, between January and December 2021, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint blocked more than 9.6 billion malware threats targeting enterprise and consumer customer devices, while Microsoft Defender for Office 365 blocked more than 35.7 billion phishing and other malicious e-mails targeting enterprise and consumer customers.

Read Also: Empowering A Secure Digital Experience Through Diverse Efforts

Increased reports of cyber threats bring up an interesting opportunity – higher demand for cybersecurity skills.  According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report 2021, there is a global gap of over three million cyber security workforce, with two million in the Asia Pacific region alone. Last year, Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia also noted that Malaysia needs 20,000 cybersecurity knowledge workers by 2025.

As consumers, businesses, and governments come to grips with the increasing risks they face in the online world, some global tech players are acting in a proactive manner to deal with the threat.

One such example is Microsoft’s collaboration with the ASEAN Foundation to launch the ASEAN Cybersecurity Skilling Programme (ASEANCSP), which was announced in Feb this year, during the “Cybersecurity in ASEAN: Lessons for Youth and How the COVID-19 is Shaping the Every-Evolving Digital Landscape” webinar.

Explaining its motivation to support the inaugural ASEANCSP, Abbas Kudrati, Chief Cybersecurity Officer, Asia Pacific, Microsoft, said, “We live in an increasingly connected world. That means opportunities for hacking are everywhere too. We’re seeing a huge lack of cybersecurity talent around the world and as an industry, it’s our responsibility to work with educational institutions, help them stay updated on cybersecurity curricula and ensure students are equipped with skills that are current. We are proud to be working with the ASEAN Foundation to create and nurture future cybersecurity leaders and advisors across our markets.”

The webinar was just the warm-up act as ASEANCSP aims to combat cybercrimes in the region by raising awareness and creating higher cybersecurity knowledge in the region.

Using a training of trainers (ToT) approach to accelerate its impact, the programme aims to deliver ToT on cybersecurity to 560 youths, educators and NGO and CSO facilitators in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in collaboration with local implementing partners.

This cybersecurity content will be part of the 10-hour training session for each country’s master trainers who, from August to December 2022, will then deliver cybersecurity training to 30,000 underserved youths in the seven countries as a way to contribute to the creation of a safe digital ecosystem in ASEAN.

In Malaysia, ASEANCSP partners include the Girls Guide Association Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia which will deliver the cybersecurity training to 120 master trainers who will then cascade the cybersecurity literacy down to 6,000 youth across the nation.

They include youth living with disabilities, youth from minorities group, unemployed youth and youth who are exploring a career in cybersecurity.


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