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Aapo Cederberg meets the cybersecurity challenge

At the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) we have 18 thematic clusters including Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity affects all organisations and companies. Learn more about the future of cyber with GCSP Associate Fellow, Mr Aapo Cederberg, and about the upcoming executive education course he will direct in Geneva on ‘Meeting the Cybersecurity Challenge.’

GCSP: Tell us about yourself.

Name: Aapo Cederberg

Current Job Title: CEO Cyberwatch Finland and GCSP Associate Fellow

Education: General Staff Officer

Contact information: aapo.cederberg@cyberwatch.fi

GCSP: Why did you choose to enter this field?

Modern societies are becoming increasingly digital and developments in this area and on new technologies is accelerating. Cyberspace has become an indispensable area of human activity, a sphere of regular security breaches and data threats, and an arena for inter-state conflict. When considering cyberspace from the point of view of a nation state, we must keep two intensifying trends in mind. Firstly, today’s cyber-related questions have become highly politicised. Thus, political commitment to and guidance on the development of cyberspace need to be strengthened. Secondly, cyberspace has created a new domain of warfare and is influencing the so-called cyber dimension of modern hybrid warfare. Hybrid and cyber threats have become one of the most prominent security challenges and an important part of security cooperation.

GCSP: What is your role at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)?

As an active Associate Fellow, part of GCSP’s Global Fellowship Initiative, I assist in leading cybersecurity courses at the GCSP. I also lead an annual cyber competition called the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge which is a unique European level cyber competition.

GCSP: Tell us more about the courses you run.

This course analyses current and forthcoming cyber challenges and examines the preventive and consequential management measures currently being taken by the international community to minimize the impact of cyber challenges. This course is targeted to staff from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors

GCSP: How do you see cybersecurity shaping the future?

Cyberspace is a key domain of hybrid warfare and hybrid threats, and one could even say that without modern cyber capabilities, the ability to influence hybrid threats and warfare would not be possible. Cyber power is indeed a global game changer, bringing new asymmetries to power politics. All aspects of our lives and functions of our societies will be transformed by the all-pervasive and hyper-connected process of digitalisation that is continually being developed.

GCSP: What have you learnt from the participants in your courses?

You can always learn from others. To be successful you need an international networks and interactions more and more.

GCSP: What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, Nelson Mandela

GCSP: What’s the next challenge for cybersecurity?

When considering cyberspace from the point of view of the nation state, topical cyber-related questions have become highly politicised. The cyber domain should therefore primarily be treated as a political domain. When politics is involved, questions of power are always present. For example, in the context of war, cyber instruments are – like land, sea and air power – the means to achieve a political aim or increase a nation state’s power. The strategic use of cyberspace to pursue political goals and to seek geostrategic or authoritarian advantages is increasing. There is also a growing need for cyber norms and cyber diplomacy to be created through political processes.

GCSP: What’s coming up next in cybersecurity?

In recent years issues related to cyberspace and its uses have risen to the highest levels of international politics, creating an area and discipline known as cyber politics. It is becoming increasingly important to understand cyberspace as a political domain. Politically, this is often neglected or forgotten.

GCSP: Why are you passionate about this subject?

The building of a more resilient society should not be viewed merely as an extra burden for already economically struggling modern societies; it is also a wonderful opportunity. Structures that allow a society to respond in an agile way to hybrid threats also support our understanding of and ability to cope with the complex underlying interrelations that make modern societies so fragile. These defensive structures will help to make our societies more functional if decision-making processes become more transparent and inclusive

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Disclaimer: some content has been extracted from a Strategic Security Analysis (SSA) publication ‘The Increasing Importance of Hybrid Politics in Europe: Cyber Power is Changing the Nature of Politics’ by Aapo Cederberg and Jarno Limnéll.