CyberMACS Programme’s First Winter School on ‘Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructures’ Successfully Completed

CyberMACS Programme’s First Winter School on ‘Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructures’ Successfully Completed

CyberMACS, dedicated to fostering cybersecurity education and research, proudly announces the successful completion of its first CyberMACS Winter School. The Winter School that took place between 12 and 16 February 2024 at Kadir Has University in Istanbul brought together aspiring cybersecurity professionals, industry experts, and academics for an immersive and comprehensive educational experience. This year’s focus was on the cybersecurity of critical infrastructures, which are the backbones of a digital society.

Cybersecurity remains a critical concern in today’s digital landscape, with cyber threats evolving rapidly in sophistication and frequency. Recognising the urgent need for skilled professionals equipped to tackle these challenges, CyberMACS Winter School aimed to empower participants with cutting-edge knowledge and practical skills essential for safeguarding digital infrastructure and data integrity.

Key Highlights of CyberMACS Winter School 2024:

Interactive Lectures: Renowned academics and industry leaders delivered engaging lectures on emerging trends, best practices, and real-world case studies, providing valuable insights into the latest developments in cybersecurity.

Lectures covered a wide range of topics. Dr. Alessandro Lazari (University of Salento) provided invaluable insights into the European perspective of Critical Infrastructure Protection, while Bora Kose (Fortinet) delivered an impressive presentation on real Operational Technologies (OT) cyber incidents. Güray Oğuzgiray’s (Senkron Energy Digital Services) comprehensive session on energy infrastructures’ cybersecurity and OT Security Operation Center was enlightening. Sebastian Cesario and Prof. Dr. Alexander Iliev explored Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity and Ozan Oguz (Fortinet) delved into cloud security. Cüneyt Kalpakoğlu (Endpoints Lab) discussed secure coding practices, while Alper Başaran provided insights into ethical hacking. Alen Bohçelyan (CCI) shared his perspectives regarding working as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for a global company, and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) specialists Seher Sağıroğlu and Alperen Eken introduced CyberMACS students the structure of ICANN and DNS (the Domain Name System) infrastructure.

Expert-Led Workshops: Attendees benefitted from an extensive hands-on workshop conducted by Bozidar Spirovski (Blue dot and @ Sourcico) on cybersecurity risk management and communication.

Field trip: The students went on a field trip to the Critical Infrastructures National Testbed Center of Sakarya University. During the field trip, students found an opportunity to participate in engaging demonstrations supervised by Prof. Dr. İbrahim Özçelik, Dr. Murat İskefiyeli, and Dr. Musa Balta.

Career Development Resources and Emphasis on the Importance of Diversity: CyberMACS Winter School 2024 offered career development resources to help participants kickstart or advance their careers in cybersecurity, including sessions on entrepreneurship, diversity, soft skills, and preparation for job interviews. Arnaud de Vibraye (European Cyber Security Organization-ECSO) introduced ECSO’s initiatives to bridge the cybersecurity workforce gap in the EU, and María Saskia Brugman (Women4Cyber Foundation) gave a lecture on the importance of promoting diversity and gender equality. Knud Brandis (Ernst & Young Germany) engaged in a lively discussion on entrepreneurship in cybersecurity. Burcu Şen (İyibiriz) organised an insightful session on job readiness, and Cihan Çelik (ADEO) shared his expertise on the essential skills needed for landing a job in cybersecurity.

Capture The Flag (CTF) Competition: Participants had the opportunity to put their skills to the test in a thrilling Capture The Flag (CTF) competition supervised by Ender Gezer (CyberForce), where they solved cybersecurity challenges and demonstrated their ability to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities. Students competed to solve eight challenging questions ranging from cryptology to cyber threat intelligence.

Networking Opportunities: The Winter School facilitated networking, allowing attendees to connect with peers, mentors, and potential employers, fostering collaboration and professional growth within the cybersecurity community.

Overall, CyberMACS Winter School welcomed participants from diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise, providing a supportive and inclusive environment for learning and collaboration. A heartfelt thank you to all our lecturers and students for participating in this great week!

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