Block – Citizens Cyber Defence Center, available to the public free of charge, was established by ISOC-IL in order to provide a solution for individuals and small businesses. Block offers tutorials, tips, and up-to-date information designed to better protect home devices against various cyber attacks, as well as an online forum featuring expert advice. “The Block is designed to ensure that every internet user in Israel will be able to improve his ability to protect himself, and operate in a safe digital space with the necessary support,” said Yoram Hacohen, CEO, ISOC-IL.
Every year, tens of thousands of Israelis suffer from cyber attacks targeting private users using their PC or smartphone, rather than commercial or public entities. People experience phishing attacks that steal their personal information; targeted by ransomware and forced to pay to access their data; or infected with Trojan horses and viruses, sometimes as part of broader attacks launched for economic or ideological reasons.
Citizens and small businesses today require increasing levels of guidance and clear instructions on how to deal with cyber threats and secure their daily operations. Ensuring the general population is ready for cyber attacks is of national interest, since many corporate breaches originate in employees PCs, allowing malicious actors to gain access to the enterprise target.
Therefore, ISOC-IL established Block, an innovative initiative designed to offer citizens of all ages , guidance, support, and advice regarding cyber protection, and securing a safe digital space. Block is a website that includes a long list of tutorials and interactive explanations in Hebrew on topics such as setting a password on a smartphone, performing a backup, setting up 2FA, etc.
Block also hosts a forum of experts from the Israeli cyber community, where users can get customized responses to questions related to incidents and potential cyber attacks, which haven’t yet been answered by the extensive information available on the website. If the experts identify a complicated case or indication of a critical cyber attack, they will refer the user to authorized state entities, such as the Israel National Cyber Directorate. Block includes a news section featuring reports on international cyber events and recommendations on how to deal with them.
Survey: 52% are afraid of leaking private information through a PC or social networks
In a survey conducted by ISOC-IL, about 21 percent of internet users in Israel stated that they or their relatives were victims of what they defined as cyber attacks. About 27 percent of them reported being infected with a virus; 21 percent reported a violation of privacy; 17 percent had personal details or credit card numbers stolen and used; 9 percent said they were victims of ransomware, and 8 percent suffered from shaming. The survey also found that 51% of participants want to learn to protect their privacy and engage with online safety training.
52% fear their personal information would be leaked online or via their PC, while 24 percent said they don’t know how to prevent it. 25% are concerned about someone stealing or sharing their personal information; around 18 percent worry about being exposed to frauds, and around 8% are afraid of shaming on social media. Only 5% said they were not concerned about online privacy, and about 6% said they would like to secure their privacy, but take no direct action.
“In terms of cyber protection, the public remains vulnerable to attacks, and forced to rely on ‘the neighbors’ kid’ or paid experts who don’t always offer the best solution,” said Hacohen. “Companies have support teams and resources to acquire tools to protect themselves from cyber attacks, and public and corporate enterprises are protected by the state, while the ordinary citizen is left to its own devices. Block was established to ensure that every internet user in Israel can receive up-to-date, unbiased information in a clear, friendly language, and consult independent experts in case of an emergency. We encourage the public to go online and start using Block.”
Block is another service operated by ISOC-IL, together with Netica, operated by ISOC-IL as well, (formerly called “Internet Safety Center”), which assists and advises the public on cyberbullying, indicating its commitment to maintaining the Israeli internet as a safe and free space. All the information offered in Block is available for free at block.org.il.