A Smart TV. (Image: Mika Pakarinen, Keksi/LVM)

Science and technology

In today's increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is becoming an essential skill for citizens. With the rise of cyber threats, it is crucial for citizens to be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves and their personal information. To address this need, Finland has launched the Cyber Citizen Project, in collaboration with Aalto University and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, to create a common model for teaching cybersecurity skills to citizens in the EU Member States.

The Cyber Citizen Project aims to create a learning portal that will include content aimed at citizens, taking different target groups into account. The portal will provide educational and communication elements to enhance citizens' ability to operate safely in the digital world. As part of the project, a game will also be developed to teach civic skills related to cybersecurity. The project has received funding of EUR 5 million from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility for a three-year period.

The first phase of the project involved surveying the current state of teaching cybersecurity skills to citizens in all the Member States of the European Union. The research report highlighted the knowledge and skills that EU cyber citizens need in their increasingly digital everyday lives. One of the key findings was that citizens' cybersecurity is perceived differently in different EU countries. Although digital everyday life is becoming an increasing part of everyday life, the perception of cybersecurity-related knowledge and skills varies considerably from one EU country to another.

The study revealed that there is a clear desire in EU Member States to develop citizens' cybersecurity skills and to support lifelong learning. However, the differences between different target groups have not yet been sufficiently taken into account, and more cybersecurity experts and trainers are needed. The study also highlighted that the EU countries' strategic cybersecurity training guidelines are relatively recent.

In the next phase of the Cyber Citizen Project, a model for teaching cybersecurity skills to citizens will be developed, and in the third phase, a learning portal, game development, and other content production will be carried out. The gamification of learning will be an integral part of the learning portal, as the study highlighted that games have established themselves as a form of social behavior and an increasingly central form of learning.

The project's further work will also involve the creation of a trans-European cooperation network, which will welcome everyone interested in developing the cybersecurity skills of citizens. The Cyber Citizen Project is a crucial step in addressing the need to equip citizens with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect themselves and their personal information in the digital world.