Belfast 2011: Summit Report
Belfast 2011: Summit Report

The protection of cyber space, including the Internet and mobile platforms, is vital as the exploitation of cyber space vulnerabilities continues to cost individuals, governments and industry dear. The World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, Belfast 2011 has collected views from experts in the field of cyber security on current and future issues in cyber security, and has agreed a collective strategy for further cyber security research.

Discussion of current cyber security threats in the Summit highlighted that these come from a variety of sources and spaces, are multilateral, multipurpose, sophisticated and self-learning, and are difficult to attribute to their originator. It was noted that cyber attacks are increasingly instigated against diverse targets, such as individual users, research, government and military establishments, and national infrastructure.

A wide range of future cyber security requirements were suggested and deliberated. The development of a set of scientific foundations for cyber security was proposed, enabling a better understanding of emerging security threats introduced by new technologies and new attack scenarios. Adaptive cyber defence is required in order to address the evolutionary process of cyber space and cyber threats. This will involve enhancement of system awareness enabling early attack detection and self configuration to defend against an attack and the development of self-learning cyber systems. Smart systems, such as smart utility grids, were identified as a field in which cyber attacks would grow and where cyber security research is critical. The mobile space was highlighted as vulnerable to cyber attacks, which would increase as usage of this space increases. Discussion also focussed on the awareness that, in order to develop effective defence against cyber attacks, cyber security technology research must be combined with consideration of other influences on cyber space, such as the economics of cyber space, societal issues such as trust, the development of global cyber space policies and use regulations, the requirement for innovative cyber security education and the necessity for usable cyber security with human-oriented security policies and tools.

The collective research strategy identified four research themes critical to the ongoing creation of cyber security defences:

  1. Adaptive Cyber Security Technologies - research objectives in this area would include the development of self-learning cyber security technologies; selfawareness in cyber systems; the establishment of feedback in cyber systems to learn from cyber attacks
  2. Protection of Smart Utility Grids - research aims in this field could comprise: smart grid requirements gathering methodology; protection technologies for smart grids components; secure technologies for smart grid communications; smart grid and home area network integration that provides for the privacy and security of collected information; development of smart grid standards
  3. Security of the Mobile Platform and Applications - research in this space should target not only malicious applications, but also mobile cyber security problems introduced by the configuration and use of mobile networks, including network availability, mobile web browsers and caller authentication
  4. Multi-faceted Approach to Cyber Security Research - research must take into account social behavioural norms and societal desires in cyber space, cyber space policies, the impact of cyber and other legislation and the economics of cyber space and cyber security.

In bringing together experts in the cyber space, it is the ambition of the Summit that its output will influence the development of cyber security and particularly that the proposed research strategy may give direction to future cyber security research. Future World Cyber Security Technology Research Summits will be held on an annual basis and will be able to assess recent changes in cyber security and put forward revisions in proposed cyber security research strategies to address these.

Summit Report

The Belfast 2011 report is now available to download here:

Belfast 2011: World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit Report