KPMG India enters Guinness World Records with cybersecurity initiative

10 November 2017 4 min. read

In a time of relentless threats to cybersecurity across the world, KPMG celebrated Global Cyber Safety Day on the 27th of October, conducting classroom sessions on cyber security with students across 28 countries, including over 3,500 students in India, setting a world record in the process.

Cybersecurity as a concept has stormed its way into the collective psyche across the world in recent times. Operations from all walks of life are being transferred to online domains, leaving them highly vulnerable and susceptible to access from malicious actors with technical knowhow. While this vulnerability is manifested in a number of ways on a daily basis, the manifestations are becoming increasingly vicious through high-profile hacks and data breaches.

The Equifax hack from a few months ago is the ideal example of the scale of the threat. The credit reporting agency, which held financial data of approximately 143 million Americans, was subject to a data breach, compromising nearly half of the US population. More recently, the world’s largest cybersecurity consultant Deloitte was subject to a six-month-long attack on their Microsoft Azure cloud network, which leaked communications of nearly 250,000 Deloitte employees, including those with their Indian clients, who comprise 52% of the companies listed across the country.

Governments have responded on war footing, as illustrated by the GDPR initiative in Europe, which enforces a number of regulations on companies that gather private information for any reason. However, the online arena is such that the vulnerabilities extend beyond any government or private corporations down to the individual, and particularly to children, who are increasingly involved in the digital space without recognising the potential risks.

KPMG India enters Guinness World Records with cybersecurity initiative

Big Four professional services firm KPMG has recognised this threat. October has been declared across the world as International Cyber Security Awareness Month, recognised by the public and private sector alike. As part of the initiative, KPMG, which is the globe's fourth largest cybersecurity consultant, launched its inaugural Global Cyber Safe day on the 27th of October. The firm celebrated the day through a community initiative, which involved KPMG experts on cyber security conducting classroom discussions with children across 28 countries on concepts such as personal data, social media, cyber bullying and online gaming.

Unsurprisingly, India was one of the major target countries of the initiative. The country is set to have 850 million online users by 2025, which brings with it all the risks of cyber space. Across locations in India, the firm reached out to an impressive 3,673 children through a mass outreach initiative. Including all the the discussions conducted in India, the firm set the world record for conducting the largest cyber security lesson simultaneously in a number of locations.

Cyber success

Commenting on the success, Arun Kumar, the Chairman and CEO of KPMG India said, “Educating students on cybersecurity is vital in today’s interconnected world. The firm has made a significant contribution to our communities through this novel and impactful initiative of conducting the largest computer security lesson to educate young school children.”

Meanwhile, Akhilesh Tuteja, the Global Head of Risk Consulting for KPMG India, and co-lead of Global Cyber Security for the firm said, “We recognise cybersecurity as an important concern for every organisation, as regular occurrences demonstrate the risk posed by cyber attackers that aim at systematically stealing intellectual property and/or disrupting business. However, KPMG in India is also cognizant of the fact that increasing internet penetration across the country, does not restrict online safety to companies, but has developed into a widespread threat for the society in general."

He continued, “The youth, especially school children are vulnerable to online fraud and crimes, with many of them falling prey to cyber predators in recent times. Such a scenario compelled us to put forth a cyber security initiative to address this cohort, reaching out to as many of them as possible. I am glad that our efforts have not only been successful in spreading the desired message, but also translated into an honourable milestone qualifying us for a new achievement.”