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Free cybersecurity support program for 200 humanitarian NGOs in The Hague

4 October 2023

The Hague, The Netherlands, 4 October 2023 - A non-profit consortium will offer free cybersecurity support to almost 200 humanitarian NGOs in The Hague in the next 1,5 years. ‘The Cyber Secure The Hague: NGO Support Program’ is a consortium that consists of the CyberPeace Institute, The Hague Humanity Hub (HHH), the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD) and CSIRT.global – and co-funded by the City of The Hague. The official launch of this program was at the ONE Conference that took place in The Hague on 3 and 4 October. 

Mr. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague: “For more than a century now, we have been the city of peace and justice. The home of international institutions surrounded by an extensive network of businesses and organizations. This unique collection of organizations and institutions raises security issues. The urgency of this issue is something I experience daily. Non-governmental organizations, businesses and people must learn to deal with the opportunities and threats brought by digitalization. As a city, we are therefore launching a cybersecurity program for NGOs.”

Why is The Hague offering this program? 

The Hague is home to numerous NGOs that play an important role in international peace, justice and security. They operate at the forefront of geopolitics and conflict across the globe. Unfortunately, this puts them in the crosshairs of state actors and criminals. As a result, cyberattacks on NGOs are increasing both in frequency and impact. Recent cyberattacks have affected both large international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies and small NGOs such as Roots of Peace and Insecurity Insights. 

About the ‘Cyber Secure The Hague: NGO Support Program’  

The consortium aims to build​ up the​ cyber capacity of vulnerable communities by conducting ​cyber​security assessment​s​ and providing free resources, tools, support, automated vulnerability scans solutions, targeted training, digitalization and cyber hygiene best practices​ customized per each organization's needs​. Ultimately, the project will strengthen the NGO ecosystem in The Hague and allow NGOs to have sustainable international impact by increased cybersecurity. 

Please read a background story on: https://storiesofpurpose.thehague.com/rule-law/how-prevent-200-ngos-hague-shutting-down-after-cyberattack  

About Cyber Secure The Hague

In 2022 the city executive presented it’s ‘Strategy for a Cyber Secure The Hague’ [or ‘Digitaal Veilig Den Haag’ in Dutch]. This strategy was developed with involvement from more than 100 stakeholders and focuses on The Hague’s unique cyber risk profile as International City of Peace & Justice and the cyber resilience of the local critical infrastructure & processes. This led to the establishment of the Cyber Secure The Hague Program consisting of multiple projects to be executed in 2023-2024 to achieve the goals of the strategy. One of these projects is the NGO support program focused on increasing the cybersecurity of NGOs. 

About CyberPeace Institute

The CyberPeace Institute, founded in 2019, is a Geneva based organization protecting the most vulnerable in cyberspace. Independent and neutral, the Institute investigates and analyzes the human impact of systemic cyber threats, delivers free cybersecurity assistance, tracks the enforcement of international laws and norms and forecasts threats to Cyberpeace. Amongst others the CyberPeace Institute has launched the CyberPeace Builders Program and the Humanitarian Cybersecurity Center. 

About The Hague Humanity Hub

The Hague Humanity Hub was founded in 2018 and is a not-for-profit foundation in The Hague that supports and strengthens the ecosystem for a more peaceful and just world. The Hague Humanity Hub facilitates connections and innovation by offering the necessary ingredients for chance encounters, new alliances, inspirational collaborations, and the exchange of knowledge.   

About Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD)

DIVD is a foundation based in The Hague that was established in 2019 with the aim of making the digital world safer by conducting research on vulnerabilities in information systems, reporting found vulnerabilities to stakeholders and offering assistance in resolving them. DIVD works with volunteers, who have committed to the DIVD code of conduct, and together have found and reported more than 200,000 IP addresses with vulnerabilities. In 2022 – in response to the November 2021 hack on the International Red Cross (in which data of 515,000 people worldwide was leaked) – DIVD scanned the online environments of more than 35,000 foundations and charities worldwide for known vulnerabilities. Volunteers from DIVD then notified the IT departments of thousands of these organizations about the vulnerabilities so that they could take action to resolve the vulnerabilities. 

About CSIRT.global 

CSIRT.global is a global, volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization, aiming to make the world more secure by going after vulnerabilities no-one else cares for. CSIRT.global is a sister organization to the DIVD. In 2022, international CSIRT activities of the DIVD were moved to CSIRT.global, as a first step to build an international network of like-minded people.