The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) today welcomes the European Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life including the EU Security Union, Margaritis Schinas to its headquarters in Athens. During the visit, the Vice-President met with Agency staff members and discussed how the Agency contributes to the security of the EU. Building capacities refers to activities that increase the preparedness to recognise and respond to cybersecurity incidents, which requires investment in cyber skills and competencies.
“ENISA has been placed at the centre of our EU Security Union Strategy as cybersecurity remains a priority given the continuous and increasing challenges that we face in this area. This is why this Commission has proposed to step up even further our defences and protect our critical infrastructures through legislative proposals. To implement this high level norms, we will need competence and knowledge – this will require addressing the massive skills shortage in the EU through offering of education and skills. The young people selected to represent the EU at the first International Cybersecurity Challenge will be part of the solution and our future workforce and hope that the EU can continue to excel in cybersecurity”, said European Commission Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas.
“The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is a problem that Europe cannot afford to ignore. Building the cybersecurity skillset to deal with future cyber threats means we need to invest in the workforce of tomorrow. The International Cybersecurity Challenge will support the Member States in training their young people while fostering a global exchange of expertise. ” said EU Agency for Cybersecurity Executive Director Juhan Lepassaar.
Since 2015, ENISA has been coordinating the European Cybersecurity Challenge, an annual competition where cyber teams from across the EU and EEA countries compete against each other. It aims to encourage young people to pursue a career in cybersecurity while enhancing their abilities. Building on the success of the European Challenge, ENISA has engaged with regional and international organisations from North and South America, South/East Asia, Oceania, and Africa to organise a first International Cybersecurity Challenge. A selection of European players will make up the first ‘Team EU’ to compete in this first Cyber World Cup, in an effort to enhance international collaboration in cybersecurity.
In the first International Cybersecurity Challenge, teams from across the globe will compete in a series of challenges such as web application and system exploitation, cryptography, reverse engineering, hardware challenges, forensics, and escape rooms.
The Preselection of Team EU
The preselection of the players for Team EU has been finalised and includes 36 young people (aged 18-26) representing 17 countries. The team currently consists of representatives from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.
The members of Team EU already undergo online training. This will be complemented with two training events, the first one taking place in July in Estonia will consist of lectures, training sessions, competitions as well as team-building activities. After a training stage, a selection of the 15 members of Team EU (and 5 backups) will be made in October.
Aside from promoting cybersecurity skills and education, ENISA is involved in creating and supporting cyber competitions targeting young people. The European Cybersecurity Challenge (ECSC) is an annual competition that will be hosted in Prague, Czechia in 2021.
The number of cybersecurity competitions continues to grow across Europe, but such training and events are a necessary measure if we aim to tackle the cybersecurity skills gap and cybersecurity workforce shortage. The Agency recently published a report outlining the key success factors to run effective national cybersecurity competitions: Towards a common European Cybersecurity Challenge roadmap. ENISA will soon release a new report addressing the use of Capture-The-Flag (CTF) competitions around the world. These computer security competitions, which have increased in popularity as they attract a higher number of young talents each year, help develop the essential skills required to follow a career path in cybersecurity.
The European Cybersecurity Challenge (ECSC) is an annual competition, coordinated by the European Union Agency for cybersecurity. The event offers a platform for young cyber talents across Europe to gather and engage in networking over a unique opportunity to experience cooperation in trying to resolve a cybersecurity problem.
The ECSC is intended to encourage young people to pursue a career in cybersecurity, by challenging and developing the participants’ skills needed in such extreme situations and connecting them with industry.
- ENISA website – European Cybersecurity Challenge
- European Cybersecurity Challenge website – europeancybersecuritychallenge.eu
- Cybersecurity Skills Development in the EU
- ENISA Report – Towards a Common ECSC roadmap