Tri-National Cybersecurity Days
From 13 to 15 February, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW opened its doors for the second edition of the ‘Tri-National Cybersecurity Days’. The three-day symposium comprised interactive sessions hosted by academic and industry cybersecurity experts from the tri-regio area for participants with both business and/or IT background from France, Germany, and Switzerland.
The event started out with a keynote from Professor Petra Maria Asprion, Head of the Competence Center for Cybersecurity and Resilience at FHNW. She provided a holistic overview of the evolution of cybersecurity and current challenges businesses are facing. As a means to raise awareness and discuss cybersecurity risks, she introduced an innovative and interactive method – Lego Serious Play. Throughout the three days, participants were asked to build their individual Lego Model representing cyber-related risks. Day 1 was thereafter filled by an amazing live-hacking show hosted by two cybersecurity professionals from Allgeier Core, Offenburg. In shared roles as perpetrator and victim, the speakers presented typical attacks, making it very tangible how easy it is to spy sensitive data. During the live-hacking, not only consequences for companies and individuals were discussed but also recommendations to prevent damage were given. Day 1 ended with a socializing Apéro Riche and many interesting conversations.
On day 2, Stéphane Martin and Pascal Busch started out by challenging the participants on their risk appetite: Would you swim in the sea with sharks? Would you take a rollercoaster ride on the edge of a mountain? Then, both speakers provided the participants with a practical approach to gather and illustrate risks. Conclusion: clear communication and appropriate demonstration of the origin as well as impacts of cyber risks are key factors to attracting management support and associated funding. The afternoon of day 2 was dedicated to a completely different perspective on cyber risks – the industrial security. Prof. Philipp Nenninger from the University of Karlsruhe provided deep insights into backgrounds and countermeasures of real-world cyberattacks, such as the famous Heartbleed attack or Mirai Botnet.
Blockchain – this tech-trend was the focus of day 3. After some nice “Gipfeli” and “Birchermuesli”, Prof. Walter Dettling from FHNW introduced the base concepts of Blockchain. The core of his workshop was a newly developed online Blockchain game that allows the participants to act as Blockchain nodes, to conduct transaction validation and mining. Every impact on the overall Blockchain was visible to the audience in real-time, making the functionality of a Blockchain amazingly tangible.
In summary, the Tri-National Cybersecurity Days were a big success. Participants could gain new, hands-on insights, broaden their business network and just have fun by playing and learning at the same time. Finally, one of the participants additionally won a free-of-charge escape room game experience for his own company. This Cyber Security Escape Room was developed by FHNW researchers and students and will definitely be topic of upcoming blogpostsJ.
We look forward to stay in touch with the tri-national cybersecurity community. Special thanks to Ali Habbabeh, Natalie Jonkers & Janina Berga, who contributed as organizer, photographer, co-lecturer and moderator.