Toronto university to help train Ukrainians in cybersecurity

A Canadian university is partnering with Ukraine for a pilot program to train up to 100 Ukrainians to become cybersecurity professionals.

The Brampton, Ont.-based Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, a centre for training, innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity that is part of Toronto Metropolitan University, said today the program will be delivered online in collaboration with Ukraine’s Information Systems Security Partners (ISSP), a cyber company, and the country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation.

The program will provide foundational cybersecurity training to Ukrainians who have been displaced from previous employment by the war, the university said in a news release. Program participants will graduate with an internationally recognized cybersecurity certification.

Recruitment for the program will start soon. Once complete, the pilot training program will be evaluated for potential expansion to a larger cohort of Ukrainian learners.

“We believe this program will have a positive impact on the Ukrainian economy as well as contribute to the long-term development of Ukraine’s cybersecurity sector,” Charles Finlay, the Catalyst’s founding executive director, said in a statement. “We are committed to helping make this project a success and hope we can grow this program in the future.”

“The Catalyst answered the call to support the economic reconstruction of Ukraine through its expertise and leadership in cybersecurity training,” said Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly. “We all have a duty to think of the future of Ukraine, and our Government looks forward to this pilot program’s success.”

Related content: Ukraine deputy cyber leader speaks to BlackBerry conference 

Ukraine has developed considerable cybersecurity expertise after facing Russian-based cyber attacks for at least eight years. In December 2015, and again almost exactly a year later, the country’s power grid was temporarily knocked out by cyber attacks.

Cyber attacks on Ukrainian websites in January 2022 were a prelude to the February 2022 invasion by Russian forces. Since then, a number of tech companies have been helping Ukraine, including Google, Microsoft and SpaceX.

The country has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate whether certain Russian cyberattacks could constitute war crimes.

Still, Ukrainian organizations face daily cyber attacks, many of which involve wiperware. Attackers are sending tempting — and infected — email messages to Ukrainians, with links to applications or supposedly official Ukrainian government documents.

Last month, a Ukrainian cybersecurity official was quoted as saying the country has suffered a threefold growth in cyberattacks over the past year.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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