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Assoc. Prof. Georgi Penchev
Dept. National & Regional Security,
UNWE, Sofia
Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Konstantin Poudin
Issue Editor

Chief Assist. Atanas Dimitrov
Issue Editor

2021, No 6

https://doi.org/10.11610/cybsec06, Full text (pdf)

Aims and Scope

The current online newsletter is focused on topics related to the Higher Education in Cybersecurity. The education and training areas are specifically addressed within the cybersecurity related initiatives of the European Commission and Europe as а whole.

The education and training programmes and courses are among the main topics of the Cybersecurity Atlas project and its online platform which maps the institutions and their capabilities within the proposed European Cybersecurity Taxonomy. The Regulation on establishing the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre (R630) emphasises specifically on the importance of education and training as key assets for cybersecurity policy implementation. The education, training and cybersecurity skills are also among the topical issues within the process of establishing the European Cyber Security Competence Community (CCC).

The most relevant initiative to the Higher Education in Cybersecurity is the creation of the Cybersecurity Higher Education Database (CyberHEAD) by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA). The Database is presented briefly at the first section of the newsletter. The data about Bachelor`s and Master`s degree programmes in cybersecurity management are presented and the need of different capabilities is identified. The CONCORDIA project online mapping tool for training courses is also presented.

The approach of the University of National and World Economy (UNWE), Sofia, Bulgaria, to deliver and integrate different capabilities into the Cybersecurity Management Master`s degree programme is introduced. The profiles of higher education institutions and how to facilitate the cooperation and integration are considered.

The edition includes a brief report on the online interactive training event dedicated on the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and major Bulgarian Universities led by a Professor of Systems Security at Coventry University.

The certification institutions and national educational funds in the UK and Bulgaria are presented.

As in the previous issues of the newsletter, links to online news (and their sources) and events are provided. Special attention is given to the updates of the Bulgarian National Cyber Security Strategy.

Issue Editors: Assoc. Prof. Georgi Penchev, Assoc. Prof. Konstantin Poudin, and Chief. Asisst. Atanas Dimitrov

Focus on This Issue: Integrating Education Capabilities in Cybersecurity Management Programmes

The main source of information for Cybersecurity Education Programmes is the online Cybersecurity Higher Education Database (CyberHEAD). The Database is established and maintained by the ENISA. This effort is not a single act of gathering and disseminating data. Several initiatives and documents related to the EU Cybersecurity Education Policy can be considered as a background for the CyberHEAD establishment (according to the ENISA website publication):

The Agency also developed the report on Cybersecurity Skills Development in the EU in order to address the status of the cybersecurity education system. The report identifies gaps and shortages in educated and trained workforce. The analysis is based on the experience of four countries – Australia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The CyberHEAD can also be considered as a tool supporting the development of the European Cybersecurity Skills Framework which aims to create a common understanding of the roles, competencies, skills and knowledge used in all aspects of cybersecurity – the individuals, employers, etc.

The Cybersecurity Curricula 2017 developed by the Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education is used as main reference for the cybersecurity education programmes in CyberHEAD database.

In general, the Cybersecurity Higher Education Database is an online platform for registering the higher education cybersecurity programmes. The registration is validated by the ENISA.

The purpose of the Database is defined as follows: "It has been the main point of reference for all citizens looking to upskill their knowledge in the cybersecurity field. This database allows young talents to make informed decisions on the variety of possibilities offered by higher education in cybersecurity and helps universities attract high-quality students motivated in keeping Europe cyber-secure."

Since March 2020 130 Programmes across 24 Countries are registered and the site of the platform states that this is "the largest validated cybersecurity higher education database in the EU and EFTA countries".

The spatial distribution of registered and validated programmes across Europe is presented on the figure.

The distribution until the date of the current issue of the newsletter is almost equal with only three countries included into the bracket of "10-30 published courses".

The requirements for registering, of course, are as follows:

The most interesting data recorded by the Database are the Number of European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) as well as the ECTS dedicated to course's disciplines as percentage of total amount of course's ECTS. Having this data, we can compare the management courses and programmes and other programmes oriented more to the technical cybersecurity aspects.

The CyberHEAD do not provide options for downloading the full dataset. We experiment with keyword "management" and the search returns 24 masters' and bachelors' programmes related in more or less to the Cybersecurity, Risk and Technology management.

The National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) is the certifies cybersecurity bachelors’ and masters’ programmes at the UK. The information about programmes is provided as a list, which can be found online here.

Courses and trainings for professionals

The four pilots project which are in the core of establishing Cybersecurity Competence Community have also strong focus on education – for example ECHO Project is focusing on Cybersecurity Skills Framework, Taxonomy, training and certification. CONCORDIA area of is closely related to education of cybersecurity professional.

The four pilots projects are presented in previous Newsletter #4.

CONCORDIA also maintains a web platform for registering and mapping the courses and trainings for professionals across Europe. The figure of current registered courses of the platform is presented above. More about the CONCORDIA map of courses can be found here and here.

Organisations and Institutions Profiles

The current social environment is characterised by the dynamic processes of digital transformation in all spheres. People's daily lives are unthinkable without the use of computer technologies and communication networks. Each of us regardless of the reason – work, education, or just entertainment spends more and more time in cyberspace, especially in a pandemic.

This intensive process of virtualisation of our everyday life is accompanied by different security challenges. A lot of cyber treats have arisen and exist nowadays. Affecting networks and computer systems they have the capacity to violate cyber resilience at individual, organisational or national level causing huge material and moral negative consequences. Cyberspace has become a field of warfare and different crimes. That`s why the development and maintenance of adequate counter capacity is crucial. All this determines the importance of cybersecurity education and training as one of the ways to develop such capacity.

The goal of cybersecurity management education is to provide students with knowledge related to the essence and particularities of cybersecurity. The students also develop skills to analyse the internal and external environment of the entities, choose and implement approaches to avoid the cyber treats and to guarantee cyber resilience of their organisations.

The education contributes to development of a relevant cybersecurity culture – a way of environmental perception, a way of thinking and acting in regard to the existing cyber threats and dangers, based on cybersecurity awareness.

Integrating Capabilities Example

The cybersecurity is a complex matter and an overlap between several spheres which could be seen, such as: management, organisational behaviour and psychology, law-enforcement, policy-making, IT, etc. That`s why the cybersecurity management education has various aspects and covers different disciplines.

The UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria has two years of experience in the field of cybersecurity education. The curriculum for the UNWE Master`s Degree Programme in Cybersecurity Management shows this diversity of courses that such a programme could include. The duration of education is two semesters. The curriculum includes:

The complexities of cybersecurity require the involvement of lecturers with different knowledge and skills from various organisations such as: universities and research centres, business organisations, government authorities, etc.

The cybersecurity management education requires the presence of discipline(s) related to the management science in the curriculum. It is due to the fact that ensuring the cybersecurity, as all other aspects of security, requires the performance of managerial activities within the four basic management functions as follows:

The participation of lecturers having knowledge and experience in the field of management is essential, e.g. university professors and government officials at political and strategic level participate in the education process.

Cybersecurity requires participation of experienced IT specialists familiar with the functioning of computer technologies and the specifics of communication networks, knowing their vulnerabilities and the ways of protection.

The cybercrimes counteractions fully engage the government attention. Part of the duties of law-enforcement bodies and specialised agencies are related to the prevention, detection and response of cyber treats and cyberattacks.

The preparation regarding the legal aspects of cybersecurity is also very important. Cybercrimes violate the rules established by the state. Each user living and working in the cyberspace is exposed of various treats violating some of his/her fundamental rights as a human being and as a citizen. The knowledge about the legal aspects is very important.

The leading department for Master`s Degree Programme in Cybersecurity Management at the UNWE is the Department of National and Regional Security (DNRS). The Department has more than 30 years of experience organising educational programmes in complex field of defence and security economics and management, integrating educational capabilities from different fields of knowledge.

The Cybersecurity Management programme integrates efforts from more than 10 organisations – universities, research organisations, business organisations. The cooperation among organisations can be based on formal or informal agreements. After the organisation agree on cooperation the leading lecturers for the disciplines are appointed.

The main focus in such integration are people – they are providers of the capabilities and have to establish well balanced and effective programme team.

More about the Master`s Degree Programme in Cybersecurity Management map of courses can be found here and here (both links are in Bulgarian).

How to Facilitate Cooperation

Various forms of interaction could facilitate the cooperation between the organisations and the institutions involved in the cybersecurity education process.

Most often the cooperation is based on bilateral agreements of cooperation signed with other national or foreign academic institutions, research centres, international organisations, government authorities and business entities.

Facilitating the interactions between parties, the purpose of these agreements is to increase the quality and effectiveness of teaching and research activities through the exchange of academic and non-academic staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, development of joint bachelor‘s and master‘s degree programmes, organisation of joint conferences and other scientific events, participation in joint research projects, exchange of experience and academic information, curricula, materials, etc.

The UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria, conducts education for Masters’ degree in Cybersecurity Management and has signed agreements of cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria, European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) - Brussels, Centre for European University Studies (CEUS) - Vienna, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - Vienna, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) - Vienna, etc.

The participation in academic alliances and networks is another way to facilitate the cooperation. For example, the UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria, is a member of ENGAGE.EU - an alliance of leading European universities in business, economic and social sciences, aiming to provide European citizens with the set of skills and competences needed to tackle major societal challenges.

The alliance has to exploit the unique synergies of its members elevating existing collaborations to a new dimension under the guidance of a joint strategy and common goals. The UNWE is also a member of the Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, the Black Sea Universities Network, the Black Sea and Mediterranean Academic Network and others.

Online Interactive Training on the Role of CIO

On 18 January 2021, an online Interactive Training on the Role of CIO (Chief Information Officer) for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) and major Bulgarian Universities was held.

The training was led by a Professor of Systems Security at Coventry University.

The CIO has the ultimate beneficial ownership of information and digital operations. It is also the one that would deliver the digital transformation to the Academy and Universities.

The training was organised as a follow-up of an earlier high-level consultation meeting on the digital transformation and digitalisation strategy development of BAS and Universities.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer at Coventry University was the consultant at this meeting (SIN project, Dec 2019).

During the CIO training, through an interactive tutorial, the UK Professor held a general session on Coventry University’s view about the CIO critical role and function in modern organisations. The following interactive ‘Scenario-Based Cyber Exercises’ session provided an opportunity for the Bulgarian participants to practise an effective response to potential cyberattacks.

The exercises based on real incidents were designed to build awareness and capacity towards an increased understanding of cyber risks and potential effective mitigation strategies, to build up key skills and agreed responsibilities. The training finished with a feedback on results and conclusion discussion.

The knowledge obtained during the event will be used by Bulgarian participants to develop programmes for training CIO`s at various institutions in the country.

The exercises were part of a research project implemented by the Coventry University, exploring factors that shape cybersecurity decision-making by seeking to understand how people respond to cyber incidents and to provide actionable guidance. The participant responses to hypothetical cyber incidents were scored to give insights into decision-making and response tendencies.

There were Bulgarian participants from a wide range of institutions: Institute of ICT – BAS; Laboratory of Telematics – BAS; Institute of Organic Chemistry - BAS; Technical University of Sofia; Naval Academy Varna; University of National and World Economy; University of Library Studies and Information Technologies; Institute of Public Administration; National Institute of Defence; State e-Government Agency; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Interior.

This event was a continuation of a great collaboration between SIN Bulgaria and Coventry University and Bulgarian cyber security stakeholders in Academia and University sectors.

Links to Cyber Related Institutions

Launched in October 2016, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has headquarters in London and brought together expertise from CESG (the information assurance arm of GCHQ), the Centre for Cyber Assessment, CERT-UK, and the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure.

The NCSC provides a single point of contact for SMEs, larger organisations, government agencies, the general public and departments. We also work collaboratively with other law enforcement, defence, the UK’s intelligence and security agencies and international partners.

The activities of The NCSC are defined as follows:

NCSC-certified degrees

With so many UK universities offering degrees containing cyber security content, it can be difficult for students and employers alike to assess the quality on offer and to identify the degree that best suits someone’s preferred career path. NCSC-certified degrees help:

The National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (NEAA) is a statutory body for evaluation, accreditation and monitoring of the quality in higher education institutions and scientific organizations aiming at the enhancement of their teaching and research, as well as of their development as scientific, cultural, and innovative organizations.

The Agency monitors the ability of institutions, their main units and branches to provide good quality of education and scientific research through an internal quality assurance system.

The mission of the NEAA is to encourage higher education institutions in assuring and enhancing the quality of education they offer by sustaining high academic standards and good education traditions in Bulgaria.

Accredited Higher Education Institutions

Accredited Doctoral Programmes on Cybersecurity

News on Cybersecurity