A major cyber incident has occurred. How should Europe respond?
We frequently hear the terms ‘Cyber 9/11’ and ‘Digital Pearl Harbor,’ but what might policymakers do the day after a crisis begins? The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual cyber policy competition for students across the globe. Teams compete to develop national security policy recommendations to tackle a fictional cyber incident.
After a successful 2020 virtual edition, in 2021 the 7th Geneva Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge will once again take place virtually on 11-12 May 2021.
What is the challenge all about?
The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a unique competition designed to provide students from a range of academic disciplines a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with an escalating cyber incident and potential cyber conflict. Part-interactive learning experience and part-competitive scenario exercise, it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving, multinational cyber security incident. Competitors must analyse the threats posed to national, international, and private sector interests.
The Challenge is not just a competition, however. Students and professionals have a unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation. To date, the competition has engaged over a thousand students from several European countries, the United States, India and beyond.
Who can attend?
The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is open to all students currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, professional, or law program. If you are enrolled on the date of the registration deadline, you are welcome to take part. There are no explicit requirements as to academic discipline, major, coursework topic, or prior experience in cyber conflict necessary to compete, but successful applicants will have a strong link between cyber conflict policy and their current academic interest.
Each team can include a maximum of four students. Teams which register fewer than four competitors may be considered at the discretion of the Competition Director. There are no requirements for team composition based on the academic majors or education level of team members. Each team must also recruit a faculty member to act as their team coach and mentor. While coaches are not permitted to take part directly in the competition rounds, their participation is necessary to ensure that all teams have access to assistance in crafting their responses.
Facing the Global Strategic Challenge
In the Geneva competition – hosted by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in partnership with the Atlantic Council – students respond to a major cyber incident affecting a key component of European critical infrastructure and services. Previous scenarios have focussed on threats to aviation and air traffic control, cyber security in the maritime and ocean navigation sector and the international energy industry. Competitors provide recommendations balancing individual national strategies and a collective crisis management response, considering the capabilities, policies, and governance structures of NATO, the EU, individual nations and other interested entities such as the private sector. As such, the competition fosters a culture of cooperation and a better understanding of these organisations and their member states in responding to cyber incidents
A Virtual Setting
As in 2020, this year’s competition will be 100% digital. The structure of the competition will follow that of past Challenges, except that all sessions will be held remotely using the Zoom platform. (FAQs available here.)
We are aware that there are some historic concerns regarding the use of Zoom. We take the security and safety of competition participants very seriously. Please see our statement here.
Last Years's Winners