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A Deloitte view on the European Cyber Security Challenge (ECSC) competition

The European Cyber Security Challenge (ECSC) is a pan-European cyber security event that aims at addressing the gap of cyber security talent across Europe and increasing the visibility of cyber security on the public agenda. The Challenge brings together some of Europe’s most talented young cyber security experts – organised in national teams – to compete in multiple domains, including web application, network and physical security.

For two years in a row, Deloitte Belgium has been supporting the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA, “The Agency”) to organise the ECSC.

More on the ECSC background

Designed in collaboration with Capture The Flag (CTF) experts and academia, the Challenge consists of a mix of technical puzzles that require hard skills such as pen-testing, digital forensics and reverse engineering, but also social and presentation soft skills. This philosophy reflects the current demand of technical experts with strong multidisciplinary skills to solve today’s and tomorrow’s information security challenges. Next to a varied set of puzzles and games, the Challenge also aims at establishing diverse teams, striking a balance with regard to age and gender diversity. This combination of diverse challenges, a lively environment, and healthy competition between the teams contributes to attracting young cyber talent from all over Europe.

A Deloitte view on the ECSC competition

A view at the ECSC 2017 & 2018

The last editions of ECSC, 2017 in Malaga, Spain and 2018 in London, UK proved to be a huge success, thanks to the support and endorsement from ENISA and to the leadership of a highly competent and motivated ECSC Steering Committee. Deloitte had the honour and privilege to assist ENISA and the ECSC Steering Committee in the preparation, organisation, and execution of the Challenge.

The ECSC Steering Committee and ENISA have made tremendous progress in enhancing and professionalising the organisation of the Challenge. Improvements were noted at all key planning stages of ECSC, during the operational steps of the Challenge and there is an obvious better communication between the cyber competitors and jury leading to a strict compliance with the game rules. In addition, the visibility of the event significantly increased thanks to the adoption of an ECSC Public Affairs Strategy, co-developed with contributions from Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Team. This increased visibility has triggered the interest of key European and national cyber security stakeholders, including authorities, academia, and businesses. As a result, the number of participating countries has grown from 5 teams in 2015, to 17 teams in 2018, and counting.

As an objective observer and advisor, Deloitte helped ENISA increase the transparency of the ECSC planning and governance, and of its public affairs, marketing and operational communication – these are reflected in the published ECSC Lessons Learnt Report, available on ENISA’s web site.

A view towards ECSC 2019, in Bucharest, Romania

ECSC 2019, which will be held in Bucharest, Romania, will be a new opportunity for this EU-wide event to further activate and nurture cyber security talent and to increase its visibility. The importance and contribution of the Challenge in bringing information security in the public discussion will only increase.

Deloitte will continue to work with ENISA, with the ECSC Steering Committee, and with the participating National Cyber Teams to make the ECSC 2019 a major and visible success. We will make use of Deloitte’s extensive experience in advising and supporting ENISA, the European Institutions, and the National Cyber Competent Authorities in order to contribute to an expertly planned, organised and executed ECSC 2019. The Deloitte Cyber Risk teams from Brussels and Bucharest will be providing “hands-on” support during the 2019 Competition and will rely on the support of more than 1500 Deloitte cyber security professionals in Europe, for broadcasting the positive message ECSC is conveying to the new generation of European cyber talent.

European Cyber Security Challenge

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