KPMG in Kuwait kicks-off cyber awareness month

The program is part of KPMG’s Global Cyber Day initiative and targets to reach 10,000 students by December 2022.

Continuing its tradition, KPMG in Kuwait celebrated Cyber Month in the country for the second time to encourage a cybersafe world. The corporate social responsibility program aims to buttress the younger generations’ awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and the looming internet risks as part of KPMG’s commitment to support the communities and was led by the firm’s CSR committee. The initiative is aligned with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 Quality Education and Lifelong Learning as specified in KPMG: Our Impact Plan.

According to the World Economic Forum, the total number of internet users climbed by about 200 million to reach 4.95B in 2022, with the average user spending up to 147 minutes on social media daily. Additionally, the pandemic also motivated people to spend more time online. Owing to these reasons, among others, cybersafety is becoming increasingly essential not only for organizations but also for the young masses.

Speaking about the initiative, Majid Makki, Director and Head of Management Consulting and Technology Advisory, KPMG in Kuwait said, “With respect to growing digitalization and internet use, it is our responsibility to educate people, especially the younger generations, about the underlying hazards associated with online activities. Our aim is to promote online safety habits among those who are more susceptible to such risks, and this initiative is one more step toward that.”

This initiative commemorates the International Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global campaign that promotes cybersecurity among organizations as well as the public, and encourages provision of resources that help facilitate it. In 2017, KPMG entered the Guinness World Record by conducting the ‘largest computer security lesson at multiple locations’ at the same time. The 2022 edition met with great success as it saw participation from about 66 member firms, collectively reaching about 100,000 students. This number is anticipated to increase as many firms will continue driving the awareness program in November and December 2022.

As part of the program, the team from KPMG in Kuwait has already visited two of the country’s notable schools — Fahaheel Al Watanieh Indian Private School (FAIPS) and Dasman Bilingual School, and is looking for more. The visiting team comprised KPMG professionals and conducted useful and interactive sessions on safe use of personal data, social media, cyberbullying, online gaming and phones, with the participants ranging from the age of 7 to 16. As part of the sessions, the presenting team called attention to the fact that up to 30,000 websites are hacked every day, stressing on the importance of cyber awareness in our daily lives. The KPMG professionals discussed how one can login and logout securely, use social media safely, and, more importantly, protect their identity when indulging in online activity. Taking into account online gaming’s growing popularity, especially within the younger generations, the team shared valuable advice on the risks pertaining to it and provided tips to manage screen time and online content effectively. Cyberbullying remained one of the highlights of the sessions as it educated the participants on how they can deal with internet trolls in a smart way, and why it is important to ‘be a friend, not a bully’.

In light of hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated, the sessions concluded with crucial points on the different ways to identify, recover from, and prevent a cyberattack. It is essential for the students to communicate with a trusted adult whenever they find something suspicious or concerning online, and it was greatly emphasized on by the team during the classroom sessions.

So far, the firm has covered more than 5,000 students over 25 sessions, spanning across two schools, and intends to reach 10,000 students by December 2022. “Considering that the younger generations spend more time online, it is paramount that the right cyber hygiene values are instilled in them from a very early age. Our goal through these sessions is to equip them with the mindset, knowledge and tools that support right decision-making, and will help them stay out of harm’s way when online. We are open to any school irrespective of its size, demographics and location as our intent is to reach as many students as we can by the end of December 2022,” concluded Makki.