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05 augustus 2015

cxo magazine

Door cxo magazine

A unique coalition joining forces against cybercrime

At the end of 2014, Belgian partners from the three sectors (public authorities, the academic world) launched a unique coalition in the fight against cybercrime. Initially, it is bringing more than 50 key players together to share knowledge, raise awareness among citizens and businesses and issue recommendations for a more efficient policy.

cyber-security-300x200.jpgHundreds of thousands of Belgian computers become infected every year. The cost of cybercrime is estimated at EUR 3.5 billion, which is more than 1% of the GDP. Yet the fight against cybercrime is being conducted in a highly fragmented way. Despite many well-meant initiatives, everyone is still waging their own war against it. However, progress in this field can only be made if all parties involved work together: the companies, the academic world and the public authorities.

Today, Proximus, VBO-FEB,, B-CCENTRE and Solvay Brussels School are establishing the Cyber Security Coalition. Initially, the coalition will bring more than 50 key players from the academic world , the business sector and the public authorities together to share knowledge and experiences and to jointly obtain an overall picture of the cybersecurity landscape.

The focus of this coalition will be on cross-pollination and knowledge sharing, raising awareness among citizens and companies and issuing recommendations for a more efficient policy. Such a concentration of forces from the business sector, the academic world and the public authorities will give new impetus to the digital economy and put Belgium on the map as a country with a high awareness in cyber security.

Telling figures

Between January and June 2014, received reports of more than 751,000 cases of infected computers in Belgium. During that semester, the team received an average of 614 incident reports per month, which is 80% higher than in 2013. Moreover, a recent survey of the VOB-FEB shows that 66% of the companies questioned do not have a clear overall view of what a good, efficient approach to cyber security involves. 75% feel unclear about the regulations and the competent authorities.

Focus on knowledge exchange, awareness-raising and policy advice

In the short term, the coalition aims to make significant progress on three fronts:

  • Knowledge exchange

Cybersecurity extends from technology to legislation, from experts to regular employees, from daily incidents to sophisticated intrusions and cyber espionage. Cybersecurity requires a 360-degree approach, and cross-sector exchanges are crucial for that. In collaboration with the academic partners, the coalition will organize six working sessions in 2015.

During the first sessions, all participants will receive and overview of the Belgian cybsersecurity landscape (the competent authorities, law …). Furthermore they will concentrate on the problems related to Cyber Security Governance, Methods for Risk Management and Threat Management. Each working session will result in a report in which the coalition will draw up a status quaestionis on each topic, outline the main challenges and issue a number of specific recommendations to the academic world, the business sector and to the public authorities.

  • Awareness raising

The coalition will set up specific awareness-raising initiatives and national campaigns.
The members of the coalition have each individually already invested a great deal in awareness-raising campaigns. They want to share this experience with other companies, organizations and the public at large. Every year an open interactive session will be held in which the coalition members will share the main findings and achievements with the general public.

  • Policy advice

The coalition will map out the biggest difficulties, weaknesses and challenges and elaborate a series of specific recommendations and solutions, both for the public authorities and for the private and academic sector. The coalition is taking this initiative because of the prevailing urgency, because there is a great need for a coherent approach and because the risks are increasing at a fast pace. It of course remains the public authorities’ task to subsequently establish an efficient policy and implement the necessary measures promptly.

"Cybercrime is one of the main challenges, not just for companies and organizations, but the general public too. We are convinced that this coalition can be the driver necessary for the development of measures to improve prevention, detection and the way in which cyber incidents are dealt with. Knowledge sharing, and especially collaboration across all sectors and company boundaries, can only help us and arm us better as a society against cybercrime," say the coalition initiators.