U.S. Embassy Hosts Online Events for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Left: U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava joins Philippine National Privacy Commission Chairman Raymund Liboro, U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Director for Global Data Policy Shannon Coe, and USTDA Country Manager for ICT & Smart Cities in the Indo-Pacific Katrien Hinderdael at the October 11 roundtable discussion “Cybersecurity in the New Reality.”

Right: “Cybersecurity in the New Reality: Business Continuity in COVID-19 Environment” virtual forum.

Manila, October 26, 2021 — As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines conducted two virtual programs tackling cybersecurity and the benefits of e-government, state-of-the-art U.S. technologies and services, policies and regulations that can strengthen cybersecurity infrastructure, and the resilience of public and private sector entities in the Philippines.  The two-part webinar series was split between “Cybersecurity in the New Reality” on October 14 and “Cybersecurity in the Digital Reality: Business Continuity in COVID–19 Environment” on October 20. 

Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava virtually joined hundreds of participants from both the public and private sectors, highlighting the essential need for countries to work together to mitigate cybersecurity risks. 

Representatives from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (APEC CBPR), FBI, Qualys, Cloud Security Alliance, Cisco, and AIG presented their frameworks and programs to demonstrate that cybersecurity is a necessary investment for government agencies and businesses to work, interact with citizens, and improve overall operations.  

Aside from this webinar series, the U.S. Embassy also supported the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (Go Negosyo) online forum “The Digital Shift: Revitalizing Business Operations with Digital Transformation” on October 11.  The event discussed the benefits of digitalization in micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) operations and the importance of cybersecurity in digital transformation to ensure safe and secure online transactions.  The webinar provided hundreds of MSMEs operators with security tools and links to digital platforms which can be used to improve their business productivity and efficiency.   

“There’s no denying that today’s world is run, in large part, digitally.  This is a fundamental shift that will last well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CDA Variava.  “Even as we enjoy the advantages of life in a digital world, we also must be cognizant of the risks involved.  Cybersecurity is not something that’s just nice to have.  It cannot be an afterthought.” 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is observed every October as a broad effort to stay safer and more secure online.  This year’s theme “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace.