GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Sept. 7, 2018) - Cyber experts and leaders, many alumni, gathered to shed light on the Dark Web during a Global Cyber Security Community of Interest Workshop at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies from Aug. 28 to 30.
As part of the Marshall Center's Program on Cyber Security Studies, this Marshall Center workshop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, was specifically designed for cyber security, law enforcement and counterterrorism experts nominated by German and American embassies globally, said Professor Phil Lark, the PCSS course director.
"This workshop serves as a forum to address transnational, multi-stakeholder strategy and policy-focused security concerns in cyberspace," he said. "We will examine current cyber security challenges and discuss practical and pragmatic ways to improve regional and international cooperation to effectively counter cyber threats."
He added that another objective of the workshop was to increase partnership and awareness between serving government officials, private industry and civil-society leaders.
"We emphasize engagement with experts and leaders, who themselves are practioners or academics in the field, and they remain faithful to our PCSS program," said Marshall Center Professor Sean Costigan. "That's one of the reasons we are able to bring such talent."
Costigan said that this workshops' focus included interactive sessions on the appropriate roles of private industry and civil society in countering violent extremism in cyberspace, understanding the deep and dark web, and cybersecurity strategy and policy implementation.
This talent was easily showcased in the workshop's seminar leaders, Costigan added.
"Cyber is a multi-disciplinary field," he said. "It runs the gambit from the individual to the state with many different manifestations of what cyber security means. Along the way from the individual to the state, you end up touching national and economic security issues, as well as issues of privacy, and civil and international law...the list goes on."
"It's not a simple issue and for that reason, we bring together the best seminar leaders that we can," Costigan said.
The five workshop seminar leaders have a combined of about 20 years' experience in cyber security, a relatively new focus of international security studies. Together, they have decades of national security experience from their countries, which included the Philippines, The Netherlands, Finland, Estonia and Canada.
Genalyn Macalinao is the policy lead of the Department of Information and Communications technology at the Cybersecurity Bureau in the Philippines. She is a PCCS alumna with skills and abilities ranging from project management, strategic planning, cybersecurity strategies and technologies, enabling technologies, and information and communications technologies applications.
"The PCSS program has helped me a lot in drafting the National Security Cyber Policy of the Philippines, which is now in its implementation phase," Macalinao said. "The program was really helpful in what I could contribute to my country's national policy."
"To be more specific, the curriculum that Professor Lark designed, we are now offering in the Philippines to meet the needs of our country," Macalinao said.
Macalinao said the workshop topics shows that the Marshall Center's PCCS continues to test ideas for future and present cyber security issues.
"For the Philippines, this is definitely a topic we need to discuss in the international community so that policy initiatives can be developed." She explained, "For example in the Philippines, countering drugs and child online protection are a priority of our current administration, and these are the trades of the dark net, and the industry is growing."
Rik Veenendall , coordinator with the Computer Emergency Response Team in The Netherlands, a team he said, "I built from scratch in 2012." He was in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and in The Netherlands' military police. He has been working in the world of information technology since 2006.
He attended the first Marshall Center PCSS course in 2015 and has been involved with several Marshall Center PCSS outreach programs in Africa, Hungary and Kazakhstan. This is his fourth time being a seminar leader, and he is assisting Lark and his team with the upcoming PCSS resident program in December.
"Every year, PCSS gets better and better because it just keeps evolving," he said. "The PCSS network gives Phil (Lark) new topics and names of possible speakers and participants."
For example, he cites this workshop's topics of the appropriate roles of private industry and civil society in countering violent extremism in cyberspace and understanding the deep and dark web.
"It came up from the PCSS network that people want to know some topics about the private partnerships in regards to strategy and policy making," he said. The dark and deep web has not really been explored so this is a very good topic for this workshop. It will open the eyes of most of the people here."
He added, "We have the top players in cyber here now."
Mika Kerttunen is the senior research scientist with the Department of Software Science at the Tallinn University of Technology. He is the founder and director of studies at the Cyber Policy Institute in Tartu, Estonia. His area of expertise includes cyber issues in international relations and foreign policy, the development of military cyber doctrines, nuclear weapons policies and doctrines, and theoretical military strategy.
"I have been able to make a positive impact on national cyber security strategy formulation and processes for many countries," he said. "I have been able to provide them with some assistance, insights, success stories and examples of how to initiate and run cyber security strategy processes."
"Some countries have literally written in some of my sentences into their strategies," he said.
He has also been a seminar leader before and has been involved in several Marshall Center PCSS outreach programs.
"The structure of PCSS and how Phil (Lark) has constructed it gives participants guidance on national strategy as a process and content matter," he said.
"PCSS is totally unique and exceptional. It is the greatest show on earth in this field. It really makes a difference because Phil (Lark) and the Marshall Center have been able to gather so many people from so many different countries across the spectrum of government and civilian administrations." He added, "And, when it is repeated year after year, the results become more viable and is no longer limited to the class participants from so many countries, but has a reach around the globe."
He also thinks that the workshop's topic on the dark web was an important and one that needs to be explored more.
"It is again another good example of how PCSS gets us out of our comfort zone so that we are exposed to issues that we would otherwise not be," he said. "It's a good thing that we shed light on the dark web and get exposure to all the multi-dimensions of cyber security."
Piret Pernik, advisor to the Policy Planning Department of the Estonian Ministry of Defense, has contributed to the drafting of fundamental security and defense documents for Estonia to include the National Security Concept, National Defense Strategy and Cyber Security Strategy. She is a PCSS alumna, attending last year. This is her first time as a seminar leader.
"The personal advantage for me is that it is very useful to be a seminar leader to see how I can learn from such a diverse group of people with different backgrounds," she said. "I am also excited to share what I have gathered from the past six years working in cyber security."
"Estonia has a lot to offer because we have been pioneers in this area, and I just want to share with others my experience," she said.
The workshop's topic on the dark net also interests her.
"A lot of people do not know much about it," she said. "We have a vague idea what it is and we need to know what it is because criminal groups and terrorists are using it, and law enforcement needs to what are the implications, especially for national level policy making and strategy development."
Most recently Megan Bell was the cyber policy advisor to the Canadian Armed Forces, and just a few months ago, she started a new position where she will be developing the policy and strategy for implementing new legislative authorities in Canada regarding cyber operations. She is a PCSS alumna.
"The PCSS course offered so much learning about more of the international perspective, which I think that's something that we in Canada could learn more about," she said. "Canada offers a lot of expertise in cyber security, but I think there is a lot more that we could learn about cyber policy development."
This is her first time as a seminar leader for the PCSS program. “I am looking forward to facilitating these great conversations between security professionals from around the globe," she said.
She also echoes what her fellow seminar leaders have said about the importance of the workshop's topics.
"What is really interesting about these topics is that there are so many issues that apply to a number of issues in cyber security, such as civil rights and privacy. And, organized crime and violent extremism is going to be more online into the cyber security field and we are all going to have to figure out how to work together not only within our countries but with other countries, across many disciplines."
All of the seminar leaders agree that the Marshall Center PCSS program enhancing their ability to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate defense and cyber security issues, and strengthening the foundation for cooperative approaches to shared cyber security challenges.
The next cyber event for the Marshall Center is the Program on Cyber Security Studies, which is the three-week resident course that will host up to 85 international, cyber security practitioners.
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