Cyber security experts and government policy makers from around the world are gathering at Queen’s University Belfast to develop the first ever global technology research strategy to counter cyber terrorism.
The inaugural World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit is being held at Queen’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) – the UK’s lead centre for cyber security research in this area. The summit will address the current risk to global cyber security as well as outline potential future threats to information systems. The select group of world experts will share current trends in cyber security, look at security threats likely to emerge over the next five to ten years and agree on an international strategy for developing research that will safeguard the ‘Internet of tomorrow’.
The summit comes just weeks after the UK government announced that cyber crime was costing the UK economy £27 billion a year. The cost is made up of £21 billion of costs to businesses, £2.2 billion to government and £3.1 billion to citizens.
Danny Kennedy, Minister for Employment and Learning, opened the summit. During his welcoming address, the Minister said: “The significance and benefit of the cutting edge work being carried out by Queen’s has been demonstrated with their status as the UK Integrated Knowledge Centre for Secure Information Technology, a development which will create significant opportunities in the local economy, as well as enhancing the skills base within Northern Ireland.
“It is a great honour for the University and, of course, the city of Belfast, to host the inaugural World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, and thus play a part in helping to develop an international strategy on cyber security.”
He continued by saying: “With the goodwill, knowledge and expertise that the summit has now brought together, I have absolutely no doubt that the outcome from today’s event will ultimately bring huge benefits to wider society.”
The Minister concluded by commending Queen’s for the excellence of the research being carried out within this field at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies, and highlighted that it will play a pivotal role in enabling that success to be attained.
Professor John McCanny, CSIT principal investigator, said: “CSIT recognises there is a lot being done on current cyber threats, but there is not a lot of collective thinking about what is coming next.
“It is hard to say exactly what the Internet will become, but we can see a world where it will be core to the very fabric of society. It will be part of our critical infrastructure; providing essential services and becoming an even bigger part of our lives – being used in assisted living; allowing computers to drive our cars, deliver our groceries and monitor and manage our health. It is therefore very important that we develop a strategy to protect ourselves against cyber technology attacks. With such a range of experts attending we expect to come up with the first ever global strategy to protect against cyber crime.
“This summit is the first of its kind and will really mark out the future of cyber technology around the world. The risks associated with the Internet extend from individuals to nations. Internet security is a major issue at a national and international level and there are a number of programs and initiatives around the world where both governments and industry are looking to solve some of the problems we face in this area. We at CSIT believe that ‘Belfast 2011’ will be the first of many summits over coming years, and may even be the beginning of an international movement of collaboration and co-operation to safeguard against cyber terrorists of the future.”
The summit at Queen’s puts the University and Belfast on the map as leading the research into global cyber security. Guests from UK Home Office, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, BAE Systems, Thales and IBM among others, illustrate the scale of the expertise at the summit.
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