New materials will widen access to crucial National Cyber Security Centre messaging
A new project is aiming to make key messages around online security more accessible.
Lead Scotland is working with a range of partners to commission and develop 16 new alternative formats of online safety and security messaging for people who might find current messaging inaccessible. The new formats will include text formats, braille, British Sign Language, captioned video, community languages and easy read formats. Accessible messages will be developed with people and supporters who need alternative formats.
Lead Scotland is working with the Scottish Government's Cyber Resilience Unit, the National Cyber Security Centre, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and a range of individuals, groups and partners to produce and promote the formats, as well as advocating for accessible messaging to become standard practice. With the move to online working and communication during Covid-19, people have become increasingly reliant on the internet.
Lead Scotland’s chief executive Emma Whitelock said: “Technology has been a great enabler in many ways during the pandemic, but with the increasing risk from cyber attacks it is absolutely essential that everyone understands how to stay safe and secure online. We know, for example, that some people with literacy or memory difficulties are more likely to choose a weaker password because it is easy to remember. We will support people to find strategies to overcome barriers and stay safe and secure online.”
Richard Lochhead MSP, minister for further education, higher education and science, said: “The Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland commits us to supporting people to know the cyber risks they face and be well prepared to manage them. Guidance must be accessible to all so I am pleased that Scottish Government funding will help Lead Scotland to coordinate this important work. I ask that community learning and development partners play their part in ensuring that these materials reach as many people as possible.”
Alison Stone, cyber resilience coordinator at SCVO, said: “SCVO is delighted to be involved with this initiative – making our cyber messaging accessible is an opportunity to engage with many more people and ensure everyone in society has access to these important messages. Furthermore, I am confident that this project will start a culture of embedding accessibility requirements at the very beginning of all future cyber campaigns. With the collective strength brought about by the new CyberScotland Partnership, this project is well timed to make sure all key players in cyber resilience in Scotland ensure that their materials are accessible to anyone who wishes to use them”.
"In line with the goals of the Scottish Government’s new Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland, this work will translate the National Cyber Security Centre’s 6 ways to improve your online security messaging into these alternative formats. The alternative formats will be available on the new CyberScotland portal."
Nicola Hudson, from the NCSC, said: “We warmly welcome Lead Scotland’s efforts to make cyber security messaging more accessible to all. Technology has played an essential role over the past twelve months and there should be no barriers to people feeling secure online. This will be a helpful way of ensuring as many people as possible are aware of the six Cyber Aware steps to protect people from the majority of cyber crime.”
The 16 alternative formats have been chosen by practitioners and service users and will promote cyber resilience advice to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired, people with learning or cognitive difficulties, people whose first language isn’t English, those using adaptive digital technology and others who experience barriers.
The new formats will be embedded into the Lead Scotland/Open University in Scotland online course Everyday computer skills: a beginner’s guide to computers, tablets, mobile phones and accessibility. This free course was developed last year for and by disabled people to learn key digital skills and cyber resilience.
Lead Scotland is a national charity supporting disabled people and carers by providing personalised learning, befriending, advice and information services. The charity's helpline and information service is Scotland’s only national helpline for disabled people seeking guidance on accessing and staying in further and higher education. It provides personalised one-to-one learning services which leave no one behind.