EIT Digital summer school by the sea dives into Cyber Security

As our life moves onto the internet, and the Internet of Things moves into our homes, "cyber security is an essential topic that touches on many disciplines," according to Prof. Christos Kalloniatis, who has organised a cyber security summer programme for EIT Digital.

"We deal with digital, as well as human aspects of security, over the internet," he says. "Understanding the impact on different disciplines is something magical."

A security expert with the highly-rated cyber security programme at the University of the Aegean, Prof. Kalloniatis speaks passionately about the "magic" of cybersecurity and the course he helped create, the EIT Digital Summer School on Cyber Security between Tech and Business. The programme brings leading cyber security experts and students to a resort hotel on a Greek island for intensive training, broken up by serious relaxation by the sea.

It begins with a one-week, stand-alone course that gives a good understanding of the subject, and can be followed by a deeper dive during an optional second week. Prof. Kalloniatis says the two-week version may be more important for people running or launching a digital business and "students from different disciplines who understand that cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary issue."

The one-week course is useful for a broad audience, including "people in security and a range of other disciplines - from companies, from businesses and academia," he says. "We want to provide basic knowledge in cybersecurity for newcomers in the IT world."

Cyber security’s impact on all of us

In truth, almost everyone needs to know more about cyber security, says Prof. Kalloniatis as he outlines the importance of the many topics covered by the course.

While businesses tend to give little consideration to the issue in their daily operations, "it has a huge impact for them when a cyber security incident occurs," he says.

Beyond businesses, the internet of things, which brings connected devices into our homes, gives everyone a stake in cyber security. "All these devices are gateways to potential threats because they carry an ability that is not yet examined thoroughly," says Prof. Kalloniatis. "We have internet-based services and we adopt new ones every day, without actually knowing the vulnerabilities of this ecosystem. We're just users of these devices. We see only the functionality. We don't see what happens behind that."

There are also important ethical issues involved in cyber security, according to the professor. For example, cyber security uses algorithms to identify suspicious behaviour, but the idea of what constitutes suspicious behaviour is based on a dataset conceived by a human. "How accurate is this data set?" he asks. "How representative is this dataset for the outcome that I will expect from this algorithm? And how can this be combined with human judgement?"

Furthermore, Prof. Kalloniatis notes, if hackers break into a well-trained cyber security algorithm, they can change it to make biased and unethical assumptions.

Another ethical issue impacted by cyber security is privacy. Many companies pay lip service to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but they are ethically responsible for guaranteeing true privacy through adequate cyber security measures, according to Prof. Kalloniatis.

A deep dive by the sea

Along with covering these issues, the summer school will offer a deep dive into topics ranging from human aspects of security and privacy to security for 5G and 6G. The classes are taught by leading experts, who are named in this detailed list of topics and instructors.

It all takes place in a spectacular setting, with both classes and accommodations located in the four-star resort Hotel Heliotrope, situated by the sea outside of Mytilene, on the Island of Lesbos.

"We want to combine a very nice and sunny experience and bonding between the professors and students under the same roof. That's why we are holding classes in the hotel," Prof. Kalloniatis explains.

There will also be a lot of opportunities for socialising, and field trips, including an evening of Greek tastes and visits to the local ouzo factories.

But, for Prof. Kalloniatis, the topic of cyber security is by far the main attraction. His passion promises to make the EIT Digital Summer School on Cyber Security between Tech and Business a great experience for everyone who joins.

How to apply

The EIT Digital Summer Schools welcome bachelor and master students, young professionals and others who want to deep-dive in emerging digital technologies, learn how to turn technology into business and eventually launch deep-tech startups.

Individual participants and groups of participants from EIT Digital Partners are entitled to a 50% tuition waiver.

To qualify for admission, applicants need to submit a completed application form and fulfill the admission requirements listed on the dedicated webpage.

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