Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business Goes International

Foreward by Laura Baker, CyberWyoming

All of this started because of an internet search. Max Shu Teasdale, Executive Director of the US ICT Council for Myanmar was looking for a new take on Myanmar’s first ever cybersecurity awareness month and she stumbled on CyberWyoming’s competition. This led to a LinkedIn contact, emails, and a Zoom conference call. It was a real pleasure to participate in fleshing out the ideas for the Myanmar Challenge.

Below is the press release in Myanmar. CyberWyoming is mentioned, but the real news is that Wyomingites have made a positive difference in the lives of many internationally.

Myanmar Kicks Off First-Ever National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Campaign aims to teach Myanmar citizens and organizations how to be “cyber-ready”

4 October 2019, Yangon – The Ministry of Transport & Communications’ Information Technology and Cyber Security Department (MOTC ITCSD), Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF), Myanmar Information Security Association (MiSA) and the US ICT Council for Myanmar kicked off the first-ever Myanmar Cybersecurity Month (MCM) with the campaign theme #CyberReadyMyanmar.

“Myanmar citizens are spending an increasing amount of time online, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberthreats. We need to be proactive and teach people how to identify these threats and be safe online,” said U Yan Naung Soe, Deputy Director of MOTC ITCSD.

The Ministry of Commerce and the Central Bank of Myanmar are also supporting the campaign as cybersecurity is integral for protecting data related to online commerce and banking transactions.

“Cybercrimes, such as hacking government websites and influencer social media accounts, are on the rise in Myanmar,” said U Mike Phone Myint, Secretary of MiSA, which was formed earlier this year to bring together technology professionals to collaborate on cybersecurity initiatives. “We need to teach users how to be smart when they go online and post on social media.”

The goals of MCM include:

  • Creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness among Myanmar citizens;
  • Educating the public about how to be safe online and how to protect their data and devices; and
  • Providing toolkits and guidelines to organizations, such as government entities, businesses, and NGOs, to enable them to secure their data, networks and systems and to educate their employees.

“MCF along with its sub-organizations, Myanmar Computer Professionals Association and Myanmar Computer Association, have members throughout the country who have technical knowledge including cybersecurity expertise that they can share in their local communities,” said Daw Aye Aye Thinn, Joint Secretary of MCF.

MCM organizers will share cybersecurity tips and resources via social media and Cyber Baykin, a Myanmar cyber security awareness campaign initiated by the Australian Government, Monash University, Kernellix co., and MoTC. MCM will also share and localize content from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, a global online safety awareness campaign.

“With this, the 23rd national launch of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, we welcome Myanmar to the global community of national cybersecurity activists and campaign curators working to instill the wisest cybersecurity usage habits to users worldwide,” said Peter Cassidy, co-founder of the campaign and Secretary General of the US trade group, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

Myanmar is the first country in Southeast Asia to launch the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, and the first in the region to be a Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) Champion.

Max Shu Teasdale, Executive Director of the US ICT Council for Myanmar, added: “American tech companies are leaders in the development of cybersecurity solutions and best practices—we’re pleased to have the opportunity to build programs in Myanmar that are focused on online safety and protecting small business and enterprise information systems.”

Various activities will take place in October as part of MCM, including a CyberReady Myanmar Challenge for businesses and organizations that will be conducted in cooperation with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

The Challenge is based on a program offered by CRI and provides a step-by-step guide that helps organizations become “cyber-ready.” US ICT Council for Myanmar developed the CyberReady Myanmar Challenge concept with CRI and CyberWyoming, another US-based non-profit organization that conducts a rigorous cyber security competition every year.

Supporting MCM 2019 are corporate sponsors including 5BB, AYA Bank, Cisco, Facebook, KBZPay, LaLaKyi, and Vintcom Technology.

Sy Wann, Country Business Development Manager at Cisco, said, “At this nascent stage of digital transformation, it is important for Myanmar enterprises to build a strong cybersecurity foundation, which will position them for unfettered growth. Proper defense mechanisms must be in place for before, during and after a cyber attack, for both on-premise and on-cloud infrastructure.  Cisco is excited to be a part of first-ever Cybersecurity Month event in Myanmar and to be able to share our leading expertise in this field.”


Beth Ann Lim, Head of Community Affairs, Asia Pacific at Facebook, said, “We are committed to keeping the platform safe for our global community, including people in Myanmar. That’s why providing the resources that can help people to have meaningful interactions online is an important part of the work we do. This is especially true in countries like Myanmar where many people are using the internet and our services for the first time. We’re pleased to support Myanmar Cybersecurity Month, and to partner with Cyber Baykin to deliver online safety training for students, parents, and teachers. This collaboration is part of our continued investments that are aimed at improving digital and media literacy in Myanmar.”

Samson Paing Minn, Head of Cyber Security at KBZ, added, “KBZPay app is using the latest biometric technologies to on-board their customers, hence they have 3 million fully KYC users. For remittance cash out at the agents, receivers need to verify the digit codes sent to their phone through SMS, their NRIC and capture their biometric photo for their transactions. With such kind of secure architectures and design, KBZPay is very reliable for everyday use not only for remittances but also for the merchant QR payments.” 

MCM coincides with similar national cybersecurity awareness campaigns around the world that take place during the month of October. While several countries organize activities as part of a cybersecurity week or day, Myanmar is conducting a month-long campaign similar to those in the US, Canada, Ghana and many European Union nations. 

For more information, please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/myanmarcybersecmonth/

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