Our project has received a warm welcome in Germany, and we’re excited to see it growing. Teaming up with Behörden Spiegel, the Cyber Citizen project is hosting a workshop in Berlin on November 22.

Stefan Lee, Marianne Lindroth, and Teemu Matilainen play a vital role in this initiative, driving it forward. The project is about reaching as many EU citizens as possible. It’s a great example of how the EU is working to protect and raise awareness among all of us in the digital world.

Follow along as we make progress, and stay tuned until the end of 2024, when we hope to have everything in place.

Photo: From left to right: Stefan Lee, Marianne Lindroth, and Teemu Matilainen. BS/Hilbricht
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Empowering EU Citizens in the Digital World

How can EU citizens move more safely in the cyber world? The European Union has entrusted the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication with the task of developing a learning platform for cybersecurity. This project is known as the “Cyber Citizen Initiative,” and it received five million euros in funding from the EU.

“The Cyber Citizen Initiative addresses the diverse needs of people of all ages and backgrounds,” explains Stefan Lee, the Deputy Director of National Cyber Security in Finland. “It equips citizens with the skills they need. This, in turn, enhances the security of the EU, which is why it’s funded. It’s something special. Based on a Europe-wide study, these specialists are developing a program for everyone.”

The project leaders come from the Finnish Aalto University in Helsinki and Espoo. The skills that citizens need in the cyber world can be summed up by the project manager, Marianne Lindroth, with one phrase: “critical thinking.” But how do you teach that? According to Lindroth, interactive formats would be most helpful to many people. She mentions that games reach millions of individuals. Therefore, the Cyber Citizen Initiative aims to use similar marketing strategies to commercial games.

The game will be available as an app for iOS and Android. However, Teemu Matilainen, a cybersecurity awareness specialist at the initiative, emphasizes that it’s not about profit but about reaching as many people as possible.

The game was developed by the Finnish company Zaibatsu after winning a EU-wide competition. “Our game is a bit addictive, much like Candy Crush,” says Lindroth. Players start the game as “cute criminal robots” who aim to make a lot of money. Through various tasks, players learn how cybercriminals think, and there are doors within the game leading to further information.

In addition to the game, the Cyber Citizen Initiative also creates text material and videos. All of this, together with the game, will be bundled on the Cyber Citizen Portal, a website. Currently, there is an EU-wide call for the development of the Cyber Citizen Portal.

“Everything should be ready by the end of 2024,” Matilainen explains. What happens next is uncertain, but Lindroth and Matilainen are already looking for follow-up funding. First, Matilainen is organizing workshops in EU member states to bring the European community together. One is planned for Germany later this year, and another in spring 2024.

– Behörden Spiegel Nr. 1.208 Oktober 2023