Celebrating Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Embassy Ljubljana hosted three speakers in the last month to talk about cybersecurity issues, countering disinformation, and cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology in recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Dr. David Fahkrenkurg from Georgetown University stressed the need for Slovenia to set priorities within cybersecurity strategies, and emphasized the need to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. In multiple engagements with students, policy analysts, members of the public, and governmental leaders—and in packed seminars and several private meetings with high-ranking officials—he stressed the imperative of developing a systemic approach that includes the broader role of society in cyber defense. Dr. Fahrenkrug offered a historic overview explaining the transition from agrarian society to an information society, and the resulting “informationization” of warfare. He talked about the protection of data and need for training to adapt to the new security reality, how important it is to educate people, and to have a free press that will validate stories. To follow up on the latter, the Embassy hosted Samaruddin “Sam” Stewart, a media technologists who focused on image verification, with an emphasis on practical workshops for journalists working in digital media and on using digital tools for data-driven storytelling.  In his dynamic and interactive multimedia presentations, Sam positioned the tools and workflows as ways to provide compelling data to bolster a story, use tools to discern fact vs. fiction, and help provide mapping and location context. The series was rounded out by Yaya J. Fanusie, Director of Analysis for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who focused on illicit finance using cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology. Talking to Fintech, government officials, start-ups, entrepreneurs, the Blockchain community researchers, and students, he emphasized that new technologies have strengths, weaknesses, as well as pose opportunities and threats, and that we need to have them in mind as the technology is developing. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology enable new ways to transfer value, and are bringing about unique new business models to the world, but these new tools also bring short-term and long-term risks.