Although there are systems in place to support communities impacted by most major crises, one group of victims has been, for the most part, overlooked: victims of cyberattacks. Both state and non-state hackers take advantage of opportunities to launch devastating cyberattacks, often targeting companies, governments, civil society organizations, and even critical civilian infrastructures. The reasons behind them vary, but all of these cyberattacks leave a trail of disruption behind them, often causing damage that extends far beyond the digital realm.
Cybersecurity threats are a harsh reality in today’s hyper-connected society, but few are fully prepared to protect against them. Many communities don’t know who to turn to after a large-scale cyberattack.
In September 2019, Microsoft, MasterCard, Hewlett Foundation, and other corporations and philanthropic groups launched The CyberPeace Institute to protect people from cyberattacks and assist victims following a cyberattack. The Geneva-based non-profit highlights three core pillars that help them achieve these goals: deliver at-scale assistance to cyberattack victims, produce collaborative and thorough cyberattack investigations, and advance international cyberspace rules. With Marietje Schaake and Stéphane Duguin serving as President and Chief Executive Officer respectively, The CyberPeace Institute has the leadership to make real progress happen. The institute’s executive and advisory boards are impressive as well, composed of respected cybersecurity, international law, human rights, and international affairs.
Even though governments, civil society organizations, and private companies are working together to establish a more peaceful cyberspace, it’s usually in the form of voluntary non-binding agreements. We celebrate initiatives like The Paris Call for Trust & Security in Cyberspace and The Cybersecurity Tech Accord as they represent a big step towards creating a peaceful digital world, but they don’t directly address the immediate needs of those impacted by cyberattacks. The CyberPeace Institute is an independent entity dedicated to directly providing aid to large-scale cyberattack victims and conducting extensive research into malicious cyberattacks that informs action to hold attackers accountable. This research is an important addition to the digital peace conversation that may impact how the international community responds to attackers in the future.
The CyberPeace Institute has already made strides towards investigating the cyberthreat landscape in the healthcare sector. Even though the healthcare industry has always been a lucrative target for hackers, many healthcare organizations have not been able to keep up with the necessary cybersecurity measures. The CyberPeace Institute jumped right into analyzing the cybersecurity risks in the healthcare industry, with a particular focus on the cyberinfrastructure of emergency responders. The CyberPeace Lab series offers the resulting insights free of charge, allowing any and all healthcare organizations to learn more about potential threats and how they can stop them.
The arrival of The CyberPeace Institute gives us hope that victims of cyberattacks will get the support they need, and that vulnerable communities will have the resources necessary to protect themselves online. We look forward to seeing how the institute continues to bring their mission to life.
Learn more about The CyberPeace Institute.