eurobits wants to provide more support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the fight against cyber attacks. On March 22, the Bochum-based European Competence Center for IT Security is launching the pilot project for the first cyber defense in the region so that SMEs, which are often inadequately protected, can get help as quickly as possible after a hacker attack has occurred.
The digital rescue service will start in the three Ruhr area cities of Bochum, Essen and Gelsenkirchen and can be reached on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the free emergency number 0800-1191112. If the project is successful, the Cyberwehr plans to expand its operations to other cities in the Ruhr region as early as next year. After that, other regions in NRW could also gradually follow. The pilot project is being funded 80 percent by the state and the EU, with the rest coming from the association and sponsors.
Cyberwehr deploys and provides on-site help free of charge
The Cyberwehr works somewhat differently than its "namesake," the fire department. A control center, housed in the eurobits office in Bochum, receives every emergency call and - if it really is an emergency - also triggers the alarm. However, the association does not own any cyber police cars that drive to the victims with blue lights. The incident commander simply sends the victim's address and a brief description of the problem to the most readily available or the closest private IT service provider that has business locally.
As official partners of Cyber Defense, these service providers are prepared for such emergencies and structure their workday so that there is still time for emergencies. What's important for victims is that, as with the fire department, every call-out is free of charge. This should lower the inhibition threshold for small and medium-sized businesses to call in the cyberwehr for help. If necessary, the cyber defense team can also arrange for suitable specialists to take further action, although victims will then have to pay for their services.
Support from state and EU funds
The initiator of the Cyberwehr pilot project is eurobits e.V. - the European Competence Center for Information Technology Security based in Bochum, which is made up primarily of IT security companies and research institutions from the Ruhr region.
The innovative project is financially supported by public grants from the RegioCall.NRW program for regional economic development of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy (MWIDE) of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). In the pilot phase, the most important partners of the Cyberwehr are eight local IT service providers in Bochum, Essen and Gelsenkirchen, who themselves have flirted with the idea of setting up a Cyberwehr and are now glad that the eurobits has taken the initiative.
Ralf Benzmüller, Deputy Chairman of eurobits e.V., is pleased that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the EU are providing financial support for the Cyberwehr pilot project: "We know that most small and medium-sized companies do not have their own IT specialists and are poorly prepared for such emergencies. But we don't know how high the demand really is and how many emergency calls will reach us. That's what we're trying to find out with the pilot project."
Alpha Barry, the board member responsible for the Cyberwehr project at eurobits e.V., says, "Many SMEs do not dare to digitize their businesses because the security risks are too high for them. As an important point of contact in an emergency, the Cyberwehr can also allay such fears and thus significantly improve the digital competitiveness of our country. The Ruhr region is the ideal testing ground for this."
Alpha Barry and Ralf Benzmüller will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Simply send an e-mail to cyberwehr(at)eurobits.de.
For more information on Cyberwehr, visit www.cyberwehr.net.
General note: In case of using gender-assigning attributes we include all those who consider themselves in this gender regardless of their own biological sex.