North Wales Cyber Security Cluster

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About the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster

The North Wales Cyber Security Cluster has been formed, under the umbrella of the UK Cyber Security Forum, by Hashtag Cyber Ltd and Glyndwr University.

The aims of the Cluster are two-fold:-

  • To support the members of the cluster by communicating National and International initiatives and trade opportunities, providing a networking platform to share ideas and best practice, encouraging collaboration and identifying partnership opportunities so that small cyber security specialist businesses in Wales can find new ways to grow.

  • To support the UK Government's Cyber Security Strategy by building cyber security knowledge, skills and capabilities in Wales, to make businesses more resilient to cyber attacks and Wales one of the most secure places in the world to do business.

Next Meeting

Four Cyber Security Clusters are coming together for a WUNDERBAR Summer meeting this month About this Event

The Cyber Wales Ecosystem are delighted to be hosting the Cyber Security Cluster Bonn, who are based in the North Rhine-Westphalia Region of Germany.

This most Western area of Germany, which includes major industrial centres such as Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Cologne as well as Bonn is the same distance from London as Holyhead - less than 300 miles and just over an hour on a plane. We will be hearing from NRW.INVEST, the state-owned economic development agency who conduct international marketing for the Region.

We will also have a talk from the Cyber Security Cluster Bonn which was founded in October 2018. It is an innovative IT security cluster which aims to increase implementation focus of Cyber Security, especially for SMEs, through conferences and events including their flagship "Cyber Security Tech Summit Europe". The Cluster also bundles cooperations of research, industry, and public authorities in the field of cyber security, focusing on initiation of targeted research projects and active transformation of the latest research results into practice.

This academic research focus will be of particular interest to the members of our very own Education & Training Cluster who will be joining us to hear about the activities in Bonn and present some of the intitiatives in our own Welsh Universities.

It will be fantastic to combine the Education & Training Cluster with the North Wales Cluster and the South Wales Cluster for the first time for what promises to be an exciting mix of business and academic opportunities between Wales and Germany.

If you are contemplating new market opportunities, would like to find out more about the potential benefits of collaborating with organisations in the heart of Europe and/or you want to learn more about the research potential of the Region please feel free to register for what promises to be a facinating web-session.

See you all there!

Previous Meetings

All Wales Cyber Security Cluster - 21 July 2020

21st July 2020 | 14:00 - 16:00

Webinar

Cyber Wales are delighted to welcome the Founder of GlobalWelsh, Walter May to join us at our July all Wales Cluster meeting.

Some of you may remember the last time Cyber Wales joined forces with GlobalWelsh to host an Academy Masterclass for ten top Welsh cyber-security companies last year. The event was run by Welsh-born Clearswift CEO Heath Davies, who invited 18 business leaders from ten Welsh cyber-security companies to join him and members of his executive management team for an intensive interactive masterclass to explore ideas and solutions to their specific growth challenges.

This is a great example of the work of GlobalWelsh, a grassroots not-for-profit organisation dedicated to connecting Wales to its global diaspora to bring about new connections, opportunities and ideas that will enrich the lives of Welsh people all over the world (GlobalWelsh now has members in 45 countries).

Despite being home to some of the UK's most innovative start-ups and promising entrepreneurs, Wales falls far behind the rest of the UK when it comes to raising capital (Equity deals completed in Wales represented just 3% of the number of UK equity investments according to Economic Intelligence Wales, April 2019). Keeping up to date with the Welsh investment landscape is hard. Talent is scattered, information is fragmented and opportunities are lost. GlobalWelsh want to change this by bringing together investors and business founders in Wales and offer entrepreneurs and investors the opportunities they deserve.

Walter May, Founder of GlobalWelsh, will join us and give an overview of GlobalWelsh, an update on GlobalWelsh activities and some specific information about the funding opportunities available.

We will also be joined by the NCSC Lead for CyberFirst who will be providing a briefing on the new CyberFirst Schools Programme.

Since 2018, the NCSC has been piloting a Cyber Schools Hub (CSH) programme in Gloucestershire. The CSH has encouraged collaboration between local schools, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), national and local companies and organisations who share the aim of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in every day technology.

The CSH pilot has proved to be successful at a local level and the NCSC now wishes to increase the scale of ambition and formally recognise schools who are committed to providing a structured approach to excellence in cyber security education. The CyberFirst Schools programme will initially be limited to schools in Gloucestershire and Wales.

We will also have updates on the business opportunities emerging from the UAE and Germany as Cyber Wales international collaboration continues to expand.

See you all there!

All Wales Cyber Security Cluster - June 2020

16th June 2020 | 14:00 - 16:00

Webinar

It had been a busy time for Cyber Security Professionals trying to run businesses during a lockdown, amid upheaval in our working practices and the ever-present threat of a debilitating illness.

So we thought we'd give everyone a chance to pause for a few moments to look at some of the latest threats to see what is hitting our companies and clients businesses and explore how we can help them.

Two weeks ago and NHS Trust in England was hit by the HARMA Virus, a derivative of the infamous Dharma Virus (which the FBI ranked as being the second highest earning ransomware of all time) but the code had been changed to better exploit RDP in response to the massive increase in home workers and remote sites.

This week the NHS were hit again by the SMBleed Virus, a sister to the SMBGhost Virus (also called CoronaBlue) a nasty Remote Code Execution hack. A PoC for SMBGhost was recently released which prompted heated debate about the advisability of sharing working code for such dangerous hacks when organisations are stretched so thin, with staff and resource issues and, in the case of the NHS with other things on their minds!

The session this month was an informal presentation of some background information to these attacks and an opportunity to ask technical questions about them and explore ways to mitigate against them, monitor and identify them and recover from them.

The meeting was run as a webinar and more than 70 attendees from the Cyber Wales Ecosystem, including overseas partners, joined in to help make this a relaxed and chatty session.

All Wales Cyber Security Cluster - May 2020

19th May 2020 | 14:00 - 16:00

Webinar

The Coronavirus had successfully scuppered the last two Cyber Security Cluster meetings in both the North and the South but life went on and so much had been happening we thought it was time to get together, albeit virtually, for a catch-up.

Although North & South Wales members gather together over video link every month for the Capture the Flag Cluster meetings, this is not something we had done much of at the main Regional meetings. I fact, the last time the Cluster combined for an All Wales Cluster meeting was back in June 2017 in the glorious sunshine and seaside atmosphere of Aberystwyth.

This time, from the glorious sunshine of our own back gardens and in true "catch-up" style, we had a series of updates from various cyber powerhouses including:-

Faheem Azhar, the Cyber Wales Representative in the United Arab Emirates provided an update on how the relationship between the Cyber Wales Ecosystem and the Emirates has progressed and described the basis of the new Memorandum of Understanding and some of the opportunities for Cluster members in the coming year.

Ben Shaps, the Head of Cyber Growth in the Cyber Security & Digital Identity Directorate at the Department for Digital Culture, Media & Sport summarised all of the great work that has been going on over the last year or so to bring the Government closer to the Cyber Security Clusters in the UK and detailed some new initiatives to help cyber companies to grow.

Andrew Roughan, the MD of Plexal who run the LORCA Accelerator gave an overview of what the next batch of companies in Cohort 5 will be doing as part of the Accelerator programme. This highly successful cyber accelerator funded by DCMS and delivered by Plexal, Deloitte and CSIT has seen 4 previous cohorts of companies crystalise their cyber offerings and make rapid growth gains, including Cyber Wales clusters members so it was great to get a closer look at exactly what companies go through.

Dr Scott Morgan, the Digital Lead at Bridgend College and Project Lead for Cyber College Cymru gave an overview of this brand new partnered initiative that creates pathways into a digital career in cyber. Working closely with Cyber Wales (that means you!), students will meet industry leaders and professionals in cyber (yes, you again!) and tackle challenges you may have. (this initiative was subsequently launched the following Wednesday in a web-session run jointly with the Cyber Wales CTF Cluster meeting)

Nick Lambe, the MD of Gordalex told us about his efforts to lobby UK Government back at the start of the COVID outbreak about the lack of a coherent technology to call for volunteers including location services & security of private data and how this led to a proposal to start a new tech security company, Certifr Ltd, during the COVID lockdown rather than wait until after the crisis.

And, if that wasn't enough, we had updates on how the NHS Wales Call to Action went, how Cyber Wales has been helping the Armed Forces and Welsh Colleges as well as a run through of some of the opportunities on the website.

Well, I did say that we had a lot of catching up to do!

North Wales Cyber Security Cluster - August 2019

17th October 2019 | 14:00 - 16:00

Webinar

North Wales Cyber Security Cluster was pleased to once again welcome NCSC to discuss the latest initiatives & plans for CyberUK 2020 in Wales.

This presentation included discussing some of the current guidance and initiatives from NCSC along with plans for bringing the UK Government's Flagship Cyber Security Event (CyberUK) to Wales in 2020.

In addition to hearing from NCSC, we also heard from Nigel Houlden and Leanne Davies from Glyhndwr University about the opportunities for experts and students to get involved in both the Cyber First Competition as well as Skills Competition Wales and World Skills 2023.

There was plenty of opportunity for attendees to ask questions of our speakers and as usual there was lots of time for networking.

Below is more detail about the NCSC and what they do.

The NCSC was set up to help protect our critical services from cyber attacks, managing major incidents and improve the underlying security of the UK Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations. Their vision is to help make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.

Who we are

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is the UK’s authority on cyber security. We are a part of GCHQ. The NCSC brings together and replaces CESG (the information security arm of GCHQ), the Centre for Cyber Assessment (CCA), Computer Emergency Response Team UK (CERT UK) and the cyber-related responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

The NCSC has access to some of the most sophisticated capabilities available to government. We acknowledge the sensitivity of these resources, whilst working to make the benefits of our expertise as widely available as possible. Further information is available by downloading and reading the NCSC overview.

How we work

The NCSC is open and accessible. We work collaboratively with other government agencies and departments, law enforcement, defence, the UK’s intelligence and security agencies and our international partners. We recognise the value of diversity and different perspectives and bring together a unique range of talents, skills and experience to tackle the hardest cyber security challenges that we face.

We are expert and look to the future. We exchange talent with other organisations through secondments and interchanges; this allows us to foster the technical innovation needed to succeed in an ever changing landscape.

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