Securing cyber space is increasingly on the global security agenda.

This trend is likely to continue for at least three reasons. First, there are an increasing number of Internet users worldwide, many of whom are unaware of how to protect their systems and networks – facilitating the spread of malicious software. Second, as societal dependency on information and communication technology increases, so does our vulnerability to breakdowns in our critical infrastructures and services. The risks for cascading and spiraling effects are exacerbated as many of these critical infrastructures are increasingly interconnected. Third, there are multiple developments in the cyber field that require continued consideration. These range from new applications, for example the Internet of things and its impact on cyber security, to cyber governance issues (e.g., balancing privacy and security requirements in cyber space).

At the GCSP, the cyber security cluster within the Emerging Security Challenges Programme tackles these and other pressing cyber issues through executive education and training, applied policy analysis and dialogue. The cyber cluster also serves as a hub that convenes cyber experts from across the public, private and civil society to examine current and future cyber challenges.

The cyber cluster offers executive education covering areas such as cyber security strategy formulation and cyber diplomacy. The cluster likewise pursues a number of outreach activities, including the co-organisation of track 1.5 dialogues, expert workshops tackling specific cyber issues (for example, the implementation of confidence-building measures), and capacity building activities such as the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge organised in collaboration with the Atlantic Council.  Lastly, the cluster contributes to internal and external policy papers on cyber security issues. Examples of recent topics examined include computer network defence, cyber security strategy formulation, and future challenges in cyber space.



Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge

The "must-attend" student competition in international cybersecurity policy!

The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is a competition designed to provide students across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crisis and conflict. Students at the Bachelor, Master and PhD levels are given a unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation. Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, the event challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyberattack and analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private sector interests.Teams compose policy recommendations and justify their decision-making process, considering the role and implications for relevant civilian, military, law enforcement, and private sector entities and updating the recommendations as the scenario evolved. The students have to consider the NATO, the EU, and the situations of all individual nation-states involved.

The competition has already engaged over one thousand students from universities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, and China.

The fifth edition in Geneva is scheduled for 25-26 April 2019


Dr Robert Dewar
Emerging Security Challenges Programme; Cybersecurity Cluster Leader

Course List

Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge 2019

Meeting the Cyber Security Challenge 2019

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