Friday, February 3, 2023

U.S. Experts Train Georgian and Armenian Researchers How to Protect Academic Data


CRDF Global and American Culture Center are hosting an in-person, 3-day workshop on cyber theft in academia in Tbilisi, Georgia with the objective of enhancing the capacity of academic institutions in Georgia and Armenia to defend against and respond to cyber threats posted by criminal entities seeking to acquire proliferation-sensitive research and design-data through unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. This training will engage university information technology leaders, cybersecurity professionals, and other stakeholders from teaching and research institutions of higher education.

Additionally, CRDF Global will offer grants through its Cyber Security Small Grants Program for the qualifying institutions. Financial resources will be made available for institutions to implement the recommended controls and safeguards.

CRDF Global is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1995 in response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the threat of large-scale proliferation of weapons technology from the region.

ACC was launched in 2020 in order to counter Russian propaganda and raise public awareness about U.S. assistance to Georgia. 

Workshop participants are trained how to enable and mobilize participants to identify and institutionalize the detection of specific Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) used by criminal threat actors to engage in espionage with a focus on insider threats and supply chain vulnerabilities; Utilize a combination of presentations and case studies that will contribute to the development of a familiarity with the specific social engineering techniques utilized by hackers and criminals to gain trust and penetrate cyber networks, specifically with the intent to acquire academic data and intellectual property.

Cyber Theft Grant Program

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A workshop itself is not sufficient to implement the recommended, capacity-building to implement the recommended controls and safeguards. Sustainable solutions and capacity-building may require additional resources to apply the knowledge and skills from the Workshop to a specific institution.

The grant can be used for equipment—and associated installation fees—, materials, and supplies that improve information and cyber security.


Dr. Eric J. Novotny – President of the Faculty and Hurst Memorial Senior Professorial Lecturer at the American University, Washington, DC, and founding director of the graduate program in cybersecurity.
Ms. Simin Kargar – Doctoral Candidate at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University, and expert in digital threat analysis.
Mr. Amir Rashidi – Director of Digital Rights and Security at the Miaan Group, and expert in identifying adversarial groups and methods.

Georgia and U.S. are celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. United States has allocated almost USD 6 billion in assistance funds to Georgia, in addition to other forms of support. More than 20 000 Georgian soldiers were trained.

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