The week of 24-28 August 2015, the city of The Hague hosted its first ever International Cyber Security Summer School, #ICSSS2015. The NCI Agency - in cooperation with Europol and The Hague Security Delta – conceived and delivered this ground-breaking course. The Summer School took place at the Campus of The Hague Security Delta.
The summer school was strongly supported by The Hague Municipality. Ingrid van Engelshoven, Deputy Mayor of The Hague (Education, International and Economy) opened the event with a reception in the City Hall to welcome the students and organizers. In her opening remarks she highlighted the dependence of the modern economy on cyber security, and the need for increased education and international cooperation to counter cyber threats.
Experts from the NCI Agency Cyber Security Service Line and Service Strategy, Europol's Cyber Crime Centre and the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre taught the course, targeting areas of cyber security specific to international organizations.
The international cyber security summer school is educating a carefully selected group of students on cyber security for international organizations, to help prepare future young professionals for the challenges of cyber security in these complex environments. Participants are all postgraduate students or recent graduates, including staff and interns from NATO and defence industries. The students come from 10 NATO and EU Nations, plus (with special dispensation) from Japan and were selected on the basis of the applicability of their background and career aspirations.
"In part, the motivation for creating the school, was to begin to foster a community amongst future cyber defence professionals, and thus increase the opportunities for collaboration between international organizations like ours, industry and academia," said Michael Street, NCI Agency's Innovation Manager. "It was also an opportunity to build an understanding with these young professionals of the role that NATO and Europol play and thus perhaps increase the number and quality of applications to future recruitment campaigns."
Technology issues were the main focus but the school also included legal and policy elements relevant to cyber security in international environments. Mentored by experts from the Agency's Legal Office and the Cyber Security Service Line, the students also worked on projects directly linked to questions the NCI Agency's customers are asking through the Agency's scientific programme of work. Project topics included technical threats posed by Bad USB sticks and the technical and policy issues associated with biometric for identification and active defence. In addition, the students engaged in wide-scale tests of two of the innovative technologies for biometric authentication and secure mobile messaging, developed by academic and industry partners under the cyber security incubator initiative, part of the Agency's Innovation programme.
The international cyber security summer school, with the support of the Cyber Security Service Line, is an output of Service Strategy's Innovation Programme. Given the success of the course with very positive reactions from students and mentors, the possibility of making this an annual event or running similar schools addressing other areas of interest to NATO is being considered.