Webinar with Galician journalists unveils insights into cybersecurity and the impact of media coverage 

The Colexio Profesional de Xornalistas de Galicia (CPXG)PuntoGal and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), with the support of the Colexio Oficial de Enxeñeiros de Telecomunicacións de Galicia, and the Nodo Galego de Ciberseguridade, held a training session on cybersecurity.

The training course included the participation of Carlos Seisdedos, researcher and intelligence analyst in international security and cybersecurity, and GCA’s Ambassador; Pablo López-Aguilar, Program Operations and Business Associate Director at the Internet Integrity program at GCA, and Alejandro Fernández-Cernuda, director of engagement at the Internet Integrity program at GCA, and moderated by Valeria Pereiras, member of the CPXG Board.

Carlos Seisdedos, Pablo López-Aguilar and Alejandro Fernández-Cernuda pushed to focus on some of the least discussed aspects of the information coverage of this topic, such as the intrinsic weakness of infrastructures, the changes taking place in global governance, network security, fraud, and some of the most widespread disagreements between users.

Carlos Seisdedos began the session by reflecting on the media treatment of cybersecurity, based on the coverage of the Alcatec case, in which he personally participated. Seisdedos congratulated the media for the progress made, especially in terms of reducing sensationalist treatment, but he also pointed out some changes that are still necessary, such as avoiding the romanticization of cybercrime (calling to replace the use of the term hacker by cybercriminal), avoiding information that could favor those who commit crimes or following up the attacks carried out and also echoing those that could be stopped. He finished his speech by emphasizing the role of the human factor in cybersecurity, especially in relation to infrastructure governance and protection, an aspect that is often neglected in media coverage.

Pablo López-Aguilar focused his intervention on the introduction to the components of Internet infrastructures, as well as the main types of attacks that are directed at each of them, describing the different basic concepts of cybersecurity that are collected in the glossary published by PuntoGal. 

He also broke it down into some myths that tend to be repeated in cybersecurity news coverage, such as the lone hacker (facing a large cybercrime industry), or the supposed security of the lock seen on most web pages (compared to what that icon really means: that the information is encrypted), or even the idea that the weakest part of the Internet chain is users, when the infrastructure is intrinsically weak, and that even the most expert people can become victims of cyberattacks. 

Finally, Alejandro Fernández-Cernuda focused on the collaborative ecosystem that protects the Internet, recalling the primary objective of the GCA: to reduce cyber risk by providing users, the primary focus of cybersecurity, with tools such as the Cybersecurity Toolkit for journalists. Fernández-Cernuda reviewed the work of GCA and the state of affairs of the sectors involved, such as the debate on the mitigation of domain abuse, the new European regulations for IoT devices and the lack of a unified approach to malicious traffic, the progress of the MANRS project or, at a national level, the fact that Spain is the only country with a telephone service for cybercrime victims, 017. In this sense, he pointed out that there are movements that point to a change of cycle, such as the promotion of self-regulation, international collaboration or the limits to large companies.

In the final debate, they raised some underlying issues regarding media coverage of cybersecurity, such as the role that the media should play in training in this issue or their responsibility in the propagation of myths, or the problem of making information attractive to users and the confrontation that often arises between immediacy and reliability.

However, it is also worth noting that there is very little quality information on cybersecurity issues like dismantling ransomware networks, governance and international agreements.

The video of the webinar is available on YouTube and the training platform of the Association of Journalists offers complementary materials.


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