The European Cyber Security Challenge gives young talents an opportunity to pitch their IT security prowess against their peers in a friendly competition. Their skills are urgently needed, if we want to tackle the digital revolution.
Digitalisation or online revolution - whichever buzzword you prefer to describe the all-pervading digital transformation of our lives – will always be about using opportunities. Change processes, an everyday occurrence in this day and age, offer enormous potential waiting to be tapped into. And this not only from a commercial point of view: digital processes can open up new avenues for more participation and co-determination, or for a better healthcare system. The days are long past when the Internet was virgin territory.
And yet, digitalisation is still seen by many as a challenge. Reasons vary, depending on where you live and what you do. Some are worried about the social or economic impact, or the effects on health and wellbeing. There is one aspect, though, that affects all of us: cyber security.
These days, new systems and applications are supposed to be all-rounders. Fit for purpose, safe and secure in every way, and user-friendly to boot. This raises a number of issues. Do we really need to sacrifice security for comfort? Or vice versa? What limitations and barriers are we prepared to accept in order not to have our smartphone data covertly intercepted?
As the region in Europe with the largest concentration of universities, we possess outstanding skills in the fields of IT research, education and security. Moreover, North Rhine-Westphalia, home to world-renowned developers of cyber-security solutions, is an incubator for innovation. At the same time, technology solutions often lack the necessary applicability, either because they cannot be integrated into existing systems or are simply too complicated to handle. Given that IT security is crucial to a functioning digital world, we need well-trained specialists if we want to turn the online revolution into a success story. The European Cyber Security Challenge gives young talents an opportunity to pitch their IT security prowess against their peers in a friendly competition.
I am looking forward to a fair contest and wish the teams every success.