Cyber Security: a new Leiden-Delft-Erasmus programme

'Cyber incidents can critically affect society. In the last year alone, there were numerous incidents that clearly showed what the effects of technical malfunctions or a cyber attack could be.'

'Nearly all vital processes and systems in the Netherlands are partly or entirely digitised, with hardly any fall-back options or analogue alternatives available,' writes the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the Ministry of Justice and Security. How do we protect data and systems and, ultimately, people and society?

This is a question not only reserved for technical experts. Cyber security is a relatively new area of knowledge that requires a multidisciplinary approach. Reason enough for Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam to pool their knowledge under the banner of Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities, and explore joint activities around cyber security this autumn.

Cyber Security is about more than just technology

Digital security brings together technical, social, economic, legal and administrative elements. It is characterised by complex issues in combination with relatively new areas of knowledge. Beyond the use of technical expertise to make digital communication and transactions secure, cyber security also covers legal and sociological aspects of online behaviour and insights from ethics on, for example, the impact of new digital services.

The following academics, affiliated with Leiden University, TU Delft en Erasmus University Rotterdam, will lead this new Cyber Security programme:

Through their combined utilisation of high-quality knowledge, this group of scientists wants to stimulate the discourse on the nature and consequences of digital security risks, effective and legitimate digital security policy and the investments this will require. In this new initiative, the collaborating universities focus on the following questions regarding cyber security:

Leiden University: How can we improve the management of cyber security, including intentional and unintentional cyber security incidents? How are complex cyber topics regulated by different actors in the public, non-governmental and private sectors? How can human behaviour be regulated through the use of technologies; moreover, what is desirable and what is not?

TU Delft: The interplay between technology and economy: how do design and measures relate to each other when it comes to internet security? Large-scale data collection and incident data are used to examine how these markets for internet services deal with security risks. Cyber security risk management focuses on how to make the right decisions in complex systems. It also relates to computational security, for example: how can privacy-sensitive data be secured?

Erasmus University Rotterdam: The Law and Economics of Cyber Security research centre investigates how legal instruments can mitigate market failures in cyber security. Cyber criminology research focuses on the behaviour of perpetrators and victims in their interactions with technology. This research focuses on the causes and consequences of this behaviour but also questions the classic definitions of perpetratorship and victimhood in a context where technologies increasingly influence these roles. How can policy influence these kinds of questions, and where does this leave criminal law?

Call for collaboration with regional partners

The joint activities will involve setting up programs and new educational initiatives, knowledge exchange platforms, as well as strengthening cooperation with companies and organisations in the region. The topic of human capital and the training and retention of cybersecurity experts in the area are feature prominently on the agenda. The collaborating Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities therefore eagerly invite corporations, institutions, governments and other potential partners to participate in this new initiative.

   Together, the three universities represent multiple aspects of cyber security, such as technology, behaviour, legislation and ethics.'

LDE Dean Prof. Wim van den Doel: ‘I am delighted with this new cybersecurity programme involving various committed scientists. Together, the three universities represent multiple aspects of cyber security, such as technology, behaviour, legislation and ethics. I hope that together with regional partners we can make a significant scientific contribution to this critical issue.’

For more information, please contact: Eveline Vreede, project leader Cyber Security at Leiden-Delft-Erasmus: e.m.vreede@tudelft.nl .

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