A successful first edition of Cybersec Netherlands at the Royal Jaarbeurs



‘The place to be’ to gain knowledge about cybersecurity

Utrecht, November 3, 2023 – On November 1 and 2, 2023, the first edition of Cybersec Netherlands took place at the Royal Jaarbeurs. The trade fair, dedicated to everything related to cybersecurity, was attended by over 2,100 experts, professionals, and enthusiasts from both the Netherlands and abroad. With a rich array of speakers, workshops, and panel discussions, Cybersec Netherlands provided a wealth of information and insights into the latest developments in cybersecurity.

The first day of the fair began with a series of inspiring presentations. Government cybersecurity advisor Brenno de Winter delivered a keynote about the NSI2 regulations, the directive that obliges EU member states to establish stricter, uniform cybersecurity standards for specific (vital) businesses and institutions. Jaya Baloo, Chief Security Officer of security provider Rapid7, focused on how we can defend our infrastructure against attackers and learn from conflicts past and present when working together.

A special segment was dedicated to the theme of ‘cyber warfare.’ Cybersecurity expert Don Eijndhoven conducted research on digital warfare between Russia and Ukraine. His key conclusion was that with proper organization of security, a small country can withstand cyber attacks from a cyber superpower on its country, society, and critical infrastructure. The crucial factor in this is cooperation. Ukraine received assistance from affiliated hacker groups, other states, and commercial entities. Eijndhoven stated, “Ukraine prepared very well digitally for this war. They survived the first wave of attacks, and Russia’s digital capabilities were weakened. This leads to the conclusion that cybersecurity really works.”

On the second day, the fair continued with special focus on two cybersecurity themes: AI security and OT security. Cybersecurity experts Peter Zinn and Dave Maasland, along with trend watcher Richard van Hooijdonk, all highlighted the role of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity. AI can be used both as an attack mechanism and a defense technique, with the winner being the one who deploys the solution fastest. A doomsday scenario of a war between algorithms looms, but according to the experts, with proper agreements and regulations, this situation won’t be as dire as feared.

In the afternoon, a segment with three sessions for OT security was featured. OT stands for operational technology, which is different from information technology (IT). OT and IT are almost always interconnected, and when OT technology gets an internet connection, significant risks arise for both environments. Security expert Fred Streeland demonstrated in his keynote how a data center could face risks through items like a smart doorbell, energy systems, or the sprinkler installation. Ethical hackers Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade then explained how they discovered such vulnerabilities in industrial machines. The segment concluded with a substantive discussion among security directors from various sectors.

Mick den Dijker, Cybersec Netherlands trade fair manager, stated, “Following the success of Cybersec Europe, the first edition of Cybersec Netherlands has also been successful. With excellent launching partners and a fantastic team, I am delighted to contribute to a better and safer digital landscape. The main goal is to create more awareness about cybersecurity together with our partners. Cybersec Netherlands shows that cybersecurity is not only a growing and important topic but also that the Netherlands is increasingly establishing itself as a leading player in this industry.”

The organization looks forward with confidence to the second edition of Cybersec Netherlands on November 6 and 7, 2024, at the Royal Jaarbeurs. Beyond the Netherlands, Cybersec Asia will take place on January 31 and February 1, 2024, and Cybersec Europe in Brussels on May 29 and 30, 2024.

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