European Cybersecurity Forum – CYBERSEC

CYBERSEC is a public policy conference dedicated to various aspects of cyberspace and cybersecurity in Europe. CYBERSEC is recognised as one of Europe’s top 5 cybersecurity conferences. The 3rd edition of the Forum in October 2017 brought together record-breaking 150 speakers and more than 1,000 delegates from all over the world. Among them were policy-makers, top industry experts, global private sector leaders, investors, and technology startups.

Europe’s cybersecurity – a decisive year

2018 is a crucial year for Europe’s cybersecurity policy framework. It brings the implementation deadlines of both the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. Moreover, this will be a decisive year for the negotiations concerning the shape of the European Parliament’s report on cyberdefence, the Commission’s Communication on countering fake news and disinformation and finally – the Cybersecurity Act that not only enhances the EU’s institutional capabilities, but also provides opportunity to stimulate the development of the secure-by-design Digital Single Market. Besides, 2018 will bring an unprecedented EU R&D investment within the European Defence Fund, which goes in line with the enhanced strategic cooperation between NATO and the EU, as entailed by the Common set of new proposals on the implementation of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration. Cyberdefence cooperation will be among the main topics of the NATO Summit in July 2018. Finally, the Commission will also put forward the necessary initiatives for strengthening the framework conditions to enable the EU to explore new markets through risk-based radical innovations, such as the Artificial Intelligence. CYBERSEC provided a platform to debate the development of Europe’s cyber readiness at the beginning of this decisive year.

Dealing with cyber disruption – Brussels Leaders’ Foresight

Following the CYBERSEC formula, the conference in Brussels was divided into four thematic streams: State, Defence, Business, and Future. Each stream compoased of a dedicated panel discussion and an on-stage interview or presentations focused on the most up-to-date cybersecurity challenges in order to present actionable recommendations and foresight of C-level actors in all aforementioned areas. Each panel followed a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing together the perspectives of both public and private sectors, as well as academia and independent experts.

The most urgent issues of cybersecurity policy, such as disinformation, EU-NATO cooperation and cyberdefence capacity building, cybersecurity certification or the role of AI in the cyber domain were debated by almost 40 the decision-makers of the EU and NATO, national governments and industry leaders at a conference attended by ca. 200 participants.

Zooming in on the Central and Eastern Europe point of view

Improving connectivity, enhancing the competitiveness of the digital single market, developing smart economy based on free flow of data, strengthening cybersecurity and trust in digital services and privacy – the priorities set by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU address the main civilisation challenges ahead of Europe.

As pointed out by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society: “future belongs to secure and connected Europe”. This message is coherent with the agenda of the Central and Eastern European states who, on the one hand, perceive digitisation as the opportunity to boost the innovation and competitiveness of their economies, and on the other hand, need to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities due to dynamic evolution of the cyberthreat landscape as well as Russian disinformation and propaganda warfare. Given the regional push for digitisation and cybersecurity, as has already by proven by the Estonian presidency, the efforts of Central and Eastern European states are important contributions to the development of the digital agenda of the EU.