Cluster meetings are normally held monthly, on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, from 2pm to 4pm, at a convenient location in South Wales.
These meetings are free to attend for anyone with an interested in exploring Cyber Security.
- Date: Tuesday 19th November 2019
- Time: 14:00 to 16:00
- Venue: Swansea University Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Skewen, SA1 8EN
- Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/south-wales-cyber-security-cluster-meeting-november-2019-tickets-79968204051
This month, we all return to Swansea University's magnificent Bay Campus.
In February we were honoured to be among the first people to see inside the new Computational Foundry building and at that meeting we were hosted by the Computer Science Department. The team told us all about their intriguing ideas for merging the activites of the other Departments at the Bay into their Cyber Programmes and we also had a presentation from Markus, the Head of Research, about their bid to run a Centre for Doctoral Training and how Cyber Wales members could contribute to it.
The fantastic news is that the University won that bid and they are going to tell us all about the 12 new PhD candidates at the Centre and how their work will impact Cyber.
Not only will we get an update on how their multi-disciplinary approach to Cyber is progressing we will also have the opportunity to contribute - our meeting is being hosted by the School of Management and they will be facilitating an interactive workshop-style discussion, the results of which will be applied directly into their research.
So come along to Swansea and make a real difference to Cyber Research in a new Centre that you helped to win the bid for!
See you all there!
15th October 2019
When we run Cluster meetings at the University of South Wales it tends to be at the Newport Campus because this is the location of the National Cyber Security Academy. We mustn't forget however, that there are a number of departments at the Treforest Campus who share our passion for protecting the world from the cyber threat, including the Computer Forensic Department (who hosted the Cluster back in 2017), Criminology and Policing.
We returned once again to Treforest for our October meeting where we will were joined by Detective Sergeant Warren Davies of the Cyber Crime Unit gave us a presentation on the changes that have seen the team go from 3 to 30 over the last few years launching a number of initiatves that are the first of their kind in the UK. Warren also announced that TARIAN will be running a Cyber Matrix competition for school pupils and he needs help from Cluster members. There was a great response to this project and we are looking forward to helping make it a success.
Also, Gino Brancazio, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Wales at Tech Nation also spoke about the Cyber Security Accelerator Programme they have been running this Summer and we were able to hear first-hand from two Cluster members who have been on that Cohort - Fortium Tech and the Awen Collective - about their experiences.
So, revisiting our friends at USW Treforest, hearing from TARIAN and TechNation, and another fantastic meeting.
20th September 2019
Having missed our usual social event at Wahaca we decided to have a last-ditch effort to enjoy the Summer by running the Cluster meeting at an idyllic spot in the Penarth Marina where we were able to enjoy the scenery, the ambience and the weather!
We had a presentation from John Davis, the Head of Sales UK & Ireland. SANS, EMEA who announced that they would be running 3 of their famous Cyber Security courses in Cardiff for the first time ever at the end of the month - so if you, or any of your staff, are thinking of doing a SANS course at any time in the future now is the time to do it, when it will be on your doorstep!
The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners in varied global organizations from corporations to universities (including some very prominent Cyber Wales Cluster members) who work together to help the entire information security community. SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and security certification in the world and we have all used one resource or another from this organisation who's training resources invariably become the de-facto best practice for cyber practitioners everywhere.
A well kept secret is that the HQ for EMEA and the Nordics for this giant global organisation is nestled in the tranquility of The Mumbles in Swansea and it was terrific to learn more about this amazing resource that is so close to home.
We also announced a very exciting new Cluster aimed at our more technical members - the CTF (Capture The Flag Cluster which will focus on all things Red Team / Blue Team, Hackathons and Cyber Wars will be launching very soon so watch this space!
20th August 2019
In previous years, we have not had a "working" Cluster meeting in August, choosing instead to have an informal catch-up in Wahaca in Cardiff for a quiet drink and pat ourselves on the back for all the amazing things we have achieved during the year.
We still wanted to do the back-patting bit but with the available time disappearing rapidly between now and CyberUK, NCSC's Flagship Cyber Event coming to Wales for the first time, we thought it best to have a catch-up of a different kind.
Welsh Government have used a number of media and events companies based in Wales but one has been singled out to handle the run-up to CyberUK - Orchard.
Orchard are a leading creative agency based in central Cardiff with a full service portfolio including Events, PR, TV & Film, Social Media, Exhibitions etc. and they have been involved in some very high profile projects for WRU, UEFA, Qatar Airways and Elton John to name but a few.
Managers of the 8 Cyber Clusters that now run in Wales along with some of the members have been working with Welsh Government to identify areas of cyber expertise and unusual experience that could be showcased at CyberUK.
The meeting at the Orchard campus was a great opportunity to hear about the ideas tabled to date - we really appreciated your feedback on these! As well as an opportunity for attendees to tell us about what they have been doing that we could add to that list - we had some fantastic input!
The Orchard Team were on hand to capture the ideas and feedback and by the end of the meeting they were chomping at the bit to start doing interviews with Cluster members and get some success stories out ASAP so that we can begin a concerted build-up to the big event in April.
16th July 2019
Back in September 2016 the Cluster was hosted by 53 Squadron of the Royal Corps of Signals at their barracks in Cardiff.
Since then, the relationship between the Cyber Wales community and Armed Forces has grown and matured. For example:-
* Cluster members have donated networking equipment and software to build a Cyber Training Suite at the Barracks
* Cluster members have run training sessions for the soldiers of the Squadron
* A number of Cluster members have joined the Army Reserve and now serve with the Squadron
* A number of the soldiers of the Squadron have moved jobs to work for Cluster member companies
* A number of Cluster members have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and now benefit from their association with the Armed Forces Community
* A number of Cluster members have joined the Regional Employer Engagement Group for the Armed Forces in Wales and help build strong relationships between employers and Reserve Units
* Cyber Wales has sponsored the Squadron Cycling Team (and Cluster member Chris Roberts wore a Squadron cycling top when he cycled around Wales for charity)
The Armed Forces have a long-standing relationship with Wales, with Army, RAF and Navy bases in the North and the South and infantry training locations around the Brecon Beacons that almost every soldier has visited at some point during their service. It's not surprising then that, as so many military units grapple with the rise of the cyber threat, the Armed Forces and the Cyber Wales communities have found each other.
In this meeting, we revisited the Squadron to find out how their plans to develop, train and deploy Tactical Cyber Protection Teams have evolved. We heard from some serving soldiers about how the cyber challenge is being tackled in the Army and we explored ways that more Cluster members can benefit from this important relationship.
We also heard from Nick Crew of Airbus, one of the biggest Defense Industry Primes based in Wales, who spoke about the work being done by Airbus EndeavR Wales, a foundation co-sponsored by Welsh Government, and discussed the opportunities for SMEs to receive funding and potential partnerships for research and development projects in the Defense and Space Industries.
18th June 2019
We had an amazing Cluster meeting this month...
Our guest speaker was our favourite person from NCSC, Paul Chichester and he gave us a fantastic State-of-the-Nation update on the National Cyber Security Strategy, programmes and initiatives as well as some feedback on how things are going in the "Mothership".
Another very compelling reason for the visit from NCSC however was to make a (semi-)formal announcement about the fact that CyberUK, NCSC's flagship event, which has been run in Liverpool, Manchester & Glasgow will be coming to Wales in 2020! We all agreed that this will be a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase all of the great cyber work that goes on in Wales and it would be terrific if we could come up with some ideas for how we could do that between now and the event in April.
We were also delighted to be joined by Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for International Relations & the Welsh Language for Welsh Government who reinforced the message of opportunity that CyberUK brings to Wales. The Minister also announced that Cyber has been selected as a key capability area for Wales, alongside Semiconductors and Digital Media, which will be promoted by Welsh Government around the World to encourage exports and promote inward investment. Cyber Wales and the Welsh Cyber Clusters are very excited about this recognition of the depth and breadth of cyber expertise in Wales and we are committed to supporting the Minister and Welsh Government teams abroad in any way we can.
The venue was Techniquest and we were delighted to be running the Cluster meeting in this fantastic building for the first time. Techniquest is the UK’s longest established science centre, founded in 1986 opposite Cardiff Castle. In 1995 it moved to its current site, the UK’s first purpose-built science centre, in Cardiff Bay in a building that was formerly a heavy engineering plant. They are an educational charity and their mission is to embed science in Welsh culture through interactive engagement. They provide a range of services to schools and teachers to complement formal education provision in Wales and work extensively with public audiences. There is also a sister-charity in Wrexam Glyndwr University in North Wales. We were welcomed by incredibly friendly staff with some refreshments on the Waterfront Balcony and then we moved to the amazing Science Theatre for our talks and facilities were fantastic.
21st May 2019
We had a very different kind of Cyber Security Cluster meeting this month following a "Call to Arms" to all Cyber Security Cluster members to help a brave young Welsh cyberist in his quest for once-in-a-lifetime glory!
Those of you who attended April’s meeting in Carmarthen will remember that we embarrassed Cluster member and National Cyber Security Academy student Kyle Woodward by making him stand up while we gave him a round of applause to congratulate him on winning the UK National round of a global cyber competition.
That competition forms part of WorldSkills 2019 which will take place in Kazan, Russia on 22-27 August 2019. The 45th WorldSkills Competition, which is run every two years hosted by different Nations each time, will bring together more than 1,600 young professionals representing more than 60 countries who will compete in 56 skills which are grouped into 6 Sectors including ICT. The event will be held at the KAZAN EXPO International Exhibition Centre where more than 1,500 Experts will evaluate the Competitors’ performance (see www.worldskills2019.com for more information).
Kyle and his team-mate Adrian (who is from Scotland, a fellow Celt!) battled their way through Local, Regional and National competition stages to gain their seat on the plane to Russia along with 30 other people of Team UK and they are now cramming in some serious training for this opportunity to shoot for Gold Medals in this event which has been dubbed the “Vocational Olympics“.
The May Cluster meeting was staged at the Cyber Village on the National Cyber Security Academy floor of the USW City Campus in Newport and the entire agenda was given over to providing learning, advice and tips on a number of cyber related topics, including Cybersecurity Incident Response, Digital Forensic Investigations and Application Security.
The format was simple. Questions were posed and the group offered opinions, experiences, healthy debate and handled any specific queries Kyle had. This was done over the usual teas, coffees and Welsh cakes with the aim of steering Kyle towards further research and learning of the points raised.
A number of Cluster members offered to reinforce this session by some additional experiential learning such as a visit to an office or SOC, a session with an expert etc. at a later date which was a terrific example of everyone pulling together to help.
It is fantastic to have a Welsh competitor in the Cyber Security Team for this Global Competition and this meeting was a chance for us all to help a fellow Cluster member to have the best possible chance of a medal.
Pob Lwc Kyle!
16th April 2019
The Cluster was delighted to head out West for our April meeting for a visit to Carmarthen, the oldest town in Wales, home of Merlin and site of one of the earliest large-scale Eisteddfods in Welsh history.
Not surprising then that Carmarthen is at the heart of a resurgence of the Welsh Creative Industries, in many ways ignited by S4C's decision to locate it's brand new Headquarters there. Canolfan Yr Egin was opened in September by First Minister Carwyn Jones AM and is home to a cluster of companies and organisations from the creative and digital sectors.
Carys Ifan, Director of Canolfan S4C Yr Egin invited the Cluster to come and see the new building's facilities and meet some of the organisations who work there. The Centre has a very close relationship with the University of Wales Trinity St David who are right next door and they were also keen to reach out to the Digital and Cyber communities.
Our guest speaker travelled from London to come to Yr Egin and tell us about the activities and plans of TechUK. Talal Rajab is the Head of Programme for techUK's Cyber and National Security programmes and he manages strategic relationships between Government and industry members on cyber and national security related issues, in particular through the Cyber Growth Partnership. He has a parliamentary background having led the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Cyber Security Commission and worked on a counter-extremism think tank.
Many of the 'News & Opportunities' posts we publish on the Cluster website come from TechUK and this puts us at the heart of Cyber initiatives from the UK Government as well as keeping us in touch with the other cyber networking groups outside Wales. So, it was be great to get an update directly from Talal TechUK who also took the time to answer questions from Cluster members and visitors.
We were also hosting a Trade Delegation from Japan - Sam Matsumoto and Taka Nishida from The Japan Cluster of Security Professionals were in Wales again for a visit and we heard about some of the amazing collaboration opportunities for those of us who would like to explore that massive market through partnerships with Japanese cyber companies. A number of companies spoke with Sam and Taka at the end of the meeting and if any other Cluster members are interested then please let me know and I will put you in touch.
This was a fantastic meeting at a brand new venue with a jam-packed agenda and great to a lot of new friends from West Wales who took the time to come and meet with us.
19th March 2019
It was 6 Nations time again! The South Wales Cyber Security Cluster has been honoured to be hosted at the Home of Welsh Rugby around this time each year for the last 4 years and we were absolutely delighted to be invited back again, especially on the heels of the 12th Grand Slam for the Wales rugby team!
Anyway, back to business. At the 2017 March meeting, the topic was GDPR as KPMG came to explain their approach to the major reforms and at last year's March meeting the topic was GDPR again as we heard from Kathy Buckley who runs the GDPR Cluster in Wales (now called the Data Privacy Cluster) about all the good work that had been done to prepare for the Regulation being enforced just 8 weeks later.
We stayed with the same topic for this year and were absolutely delighted to welcome Dr Nigel Houlden who came down south from Wrexham to talk at our meeting.
Nigel now runs Cyber Security Degree courses at Glyndwr University but until recently, he was Head of Technology Policy for the Information Commissioners Office (The ICO). During his time at the ICO he helped shape the understanding of the GDPR, in particular, its use and application to technology.
Nigel also helped to form the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster back in 2015 and is very proactive in his support for sharing cyber security knowledge and best practice and this prompted a lot of discussion at the meeting. Also, his insights and tid-bits about what goes on behind the closed doors of what is now a very powerful Regulator in the world of cyber protection proved to be juicy and fascinating!
19th February 2019
Our February meeting was hosted in the brand new Computational Foundry building at the stunning Bay Campus of Swansea University on Fabian Way.
The Computational Foundry is a new £32.5 million world-class facility, which comprises the staff of Swansea University’s Computer Science and Mathematics departments as its core team. It is intended to be a place where industry partners can work with the University to test new ideas, where people from all disciplines can link up, and where the digital innovators of tomorrow will be completing their studies. Cyber security (‘Securing Life’), health technologies (‘Sustaining Life’) and the increasing pervasiveness of digital in everyday life (‘Enhancing Life’) will be the three core themes initially, but the Foundry will adopt a flexible approach, responding to industry needs and emerging research priorities across computational science.
In addition to being among the first people to see inside this new facility, we were given an overview of the Computational Foundry from the head of Department, a talk on cyber security at Swansea University by Dr Phillip James, Senior Lecturer at the Dept. of Computer Science and a talk on the research being carried out.
We will also heard about an amazing opportunity for Cluster members to participate in a Sandpit Event being organised by the Cherish-DE Team at the University around Easter time this year where individuals and companies can present innovations to a panel of investors and researchers. Markus Roggenbach from the Team was on hand to answer questions and clarify the possibility of investment.
Also, Stephen Jones Managing Director UK & Nordics for the SANS Institute, the biggest provider of Cyber Training in the world, who have their EMEA HQ in Mumbles, came along to provide an overview of the huge range of training resources available, explain their close relationship with Wales and answer questions about their Global operations.
Cluster members spent longer than usual networking before and after this event, a sign that the recent efforts by the University's cyber team to collaborate more with the Cyber Wales community is really paying off and having a true giant of the cyber world like SANS attend the meeting was a real treat for everyone.
15th January 2019
Our first meeting of 2019 was held in the Cardiff and Vale College's landmark new-build campus opened officially by the First Minister in October 2015 which has fantastic facilities right in the centre of Cardiff.
In a chatty and relaxed presentation the Head of School for IT and Computing, ably assisted by their Lead Tutor Peter Franklin, explained that the College are actively trying to accelerate the "time-to-market" for qualified cyber security candidates through vocational courses and apprenticeships and they reached out to the Cyber Wales community for help and guidance from cyber companies. We heard about the work they are doing, compared to the work of the Universities, and had a healthy discussion about the options being explored.
Cardiff and Vale College hosted the WorldSkills UK heats in IT in the Summer and students came away with six medals. One of those medal winners was sitting in the room with his new colleagues from the USW National Cyber Security Academy – Kyle Woodward, who came away with the Silver Medal in the Cyber Security contest, stood up and spoke about the great work the College are doing to prepare students who wish to go on to do university degree courses, like himself. Both Kyle Woodward and his fellow student at the College, Mateusz Kolacki, went on to the WorldSkills UK finals and are waiting to hear if they will be selected for the UK Team at the World Finals in Russia this year.
We also heard from Dr Kerry Beynon from RDP Law who is very keen to start up another subject-specific cluster as part of the Cyber Wales Ecosystem. This new Cluster will, rather appropriately, be education and training focused and the response to Kerry's proposal was very positive.
What a fantastic way to start the New Year!
18th December 2018
For our December meeting we returned to the Tramshed in Cardiff where there have been some exciting developments, both with the Tramshed itself and with the Big Learning Company.
Helen Northmore, Programme Delivery Manager of Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) at the Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay came along to tell us all about this exciting initiative and how the Cyber Security community can work more closely with Health community - one ecosytem to another!
DHEW is a network connecting developers and companies with innovative digital health solutions with the NHS in Wales. It represents a collaboration between the Life Sciences Hub Wales and the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) and is funded through the Welsh Government’s Efficiency Through Technology Programme.
In addition Nick Lewis, Cyber Security Lead at the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) also provided a viewpoint from NWIS at the other side of that partnership and described the challenges of implementing their new Cyber Action Plan which hinges off the NIST Framework, a risk-based best practice framework that seems to be over-shadowing ISO27001 in many organisations.
As this was also our Xmas meeting, some people wore their Xmas jumpers and a few of the stalwarts took their Xmas Cheer into town and continued the festivities.
A great way to finish an amazing year for the Cluster.
20th November 2018
The Cluster visited the Swansea TechHub back in 2015 when they were based in Wind Street and since then they have gone from strength to strength.
We were delighted to be returning to visit them again at their incredible new building in the regenerated Urban Village in Swansea for a long overdue session for our November meeting.
The TechHub Programme is designed to support organisations in addressing challenges at different points of their startup’s evolution. It supports member startups from diverse sectors and at different stages of development (early, growth and scale-up) and they host over 200 events a year at each TechHub location. They create regular opportunities for organisations to engage with the topics most relevant to their startup's development and help to source the right knowledge, advice and opportunities from peers and experts both within and outside the TechHub community.
We heard from Jen Clay, the CEO about how the Programme has grown and evolved and at the end of the meeting, members were treated to a guided tour of the building by Sarah Fogel, the Events Manager.
One organisation, also a Cluster member, has proactively supported the TechHub from day one and that is the DVLA. They also spoke to the Cluster the last time we visited and we were lucky enough to have Dave Betts, their Lead Cyber Security Consultant along to talk about the sheer scale of the DVLA's operations and cyber challenges they face.
On top of all that... we it was terrific to be visiting Swansea again and touching base with friends, colleagues and potential new contacts from West Wales - perffaith!
16th October 2018
We returned to the inspiring collaboration space at Tec Marina in Penarth for our October meeting.
Our keynote speaker was Lydia Ragoonanan, the Programme Director for the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) . This new accelerator is a joint collaboration between Plexal, CSIT and Deloitte. It’s funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy. Their mission is to support the most promising cybersecurity innovators in scaling and growing solutions to meet industry’s biggest challenges, while building the UK’s international cybersecurity profile. They’re convening organisations small and large, including investors, academics, sister programmes and the international community, to:
- Maximise the commercial potential of great cyber solutions
- Minimise the barriers to scale
- Get solutions to market more quickly
By 2021, they aim to have stimulated the growth of at least 72 high-potential companies, grown up to 2,000 jobs, and secured £40m in investment. Having launched their first cohort of companies on their 12 month journey in June this year, LORCA are now on the hunt for the businesses that will form the second cohort and Lydia explained what is involved and how to apply.
We also heard from Damon Rands who has been helping companies and authorities in Dubai to form a Cyber Security Cluster of their own in the United Arab Emirates based on the Cyber Wales model. He described some of the amazing opportunities that can be found in the UAE, where demand for cyber security expertise is high, and he unveilled plans for a joint Wales-Dubai Cluster meeting we are planning for December.
18th September 2018
Our September meeting fell in the middle of a trade mission to Wales (not the UK, just Wales!) by a Japaneses Cyber Security Group who were spending three days being hosted by Welsh Government, meeting industry groups, understanding how to incorporate businesses in Wales and... learning how to form and run successful Cyber Security Clusters.
The group also visited both Cardiff University's Centre for Excellence in Cyber Analytics and the University of South Wales' National Cyber Security Academy and we ran our meeting in USW's Newport Campus to coincide with the visit.
We heard about the plans for greater collaboration between Japan and Wales in the area of Cyber Security and used the opportunity to demonstrate how the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster operates.
We were welcomed into the new collaboration space by Claire Johnson and Steve Biggs from the National Cyber Security Academy who introduced us to some of the new 2018 intake of Academy students. The "Cyber Village" space, which shares the 5th floor of the campus with the Academy, was created by USW to provide offices to some Cyber SMEs and plenty of meeting space which has been set aside for members of Cyber Wales and the Wales Cyber Security Clusters to use as touch-down facilities, an area for business meetings or simply getting together to collaborate.
We had a talk from Andrew Peaty, Regional Innovation Manager for the MoD's Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) who explained how their no-strings-attached funding worked for companies with appropriate cyber solutions. He gave some great examples and described how to apply.
We also had updates from Julie Spargo, Head of Cyber Resilience for Welsh Government, Simon Reynolds from Innovation Point, key players in the Cluster and associated groups and, of course, there was plenty of networking in the new Collaboration Space.
21st August 2018
No self-respecting heist film would be complete without some computer wizard hacking museum security systems to enable some outrageous art theft worth millions. Actual hacks on museums (Oxford's Ashmolean museum, Yellowstone and Singapore Art Museums) seem to have been aimed at personal data and/or ransomware. So in our August meeting we set out to discover the real story?
Cluster member Tim Phillips is the man with the daunting responsibility for protecting not 1 but 8 museums!
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales - comprises eight sites including the National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans Cardiff, Big Pit Blaenavon, Wool Museum Llandysul, Slate Museum Llanberis, Roman Museum Caerleon, Waterfront Museum Swansea and the gallery of Landscape Art in St Davids.
Millions of artifacts, worth billions of pounds, including a Renior collection boasting the "Blue Lady" are stored and/or displayed at these museums and Tim & his team are the first line of defence against cyber attacks whatever their motives.
Tim hosted the Cluster at their most famous "living history" site - St Fagan's. It was a fantastic location in the middle of Summer (and the unpredictable weather was kind to us on the day). We were among the first people to enjoy the facilities at the brand new Main Building and Gweithdy (Workshop) and, in a wide ranging presentation, Tim shared with us some of the unique challenges of protecting ancient history from a very modern crime.
(And yes, some of us did get out around the site to bring back childhood memories of school trips to this iconic centre)
17th July 2018
In the middle of one of the hottest Summers on record and the longest heatwave since 1976 - it was definitely time for another social event!
Wahaca in Cardiff city centre have hosted us for a number of social gatherings of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and this month, they offered the use of their cocktail bar in the upstairs mezzanine where, those who were not off sunning themselves on holiday, popped in for a chat over drinks.
More than 40 people took the time to call in, even if it was just for a quick drink, and there were even a few first-timers there (hopefully good first impression, the meetings are not always so informal).
There was a lot of conversation about the huge range of activities that have involved the Cluster over the last four years. This includes, more recently, the evolution of the Welsh Cyber Clusters into a globally recognised Cyber Ecosystem which has prompted excursions to visit other international ecosystems such as Brussels in March, exchange visits such as Israel in July and Canada in November, trade missions to events in the UAE and involvement in global initiatives such as the Entrepreneur Soft Landing Scheme.
We were also joined by members of our sister Cluster in North Wales and of the Sub-Clusters who specialise in Data Privacy, DevOps, IP Protection and the GDPR Alliance and it was great to see people from all 6 of the groups come together and give a toast to the year ahead.
18th June 2018
We had an amazing opportunity to dive into the Automotive world at our June Cluster meeting!
The current Williams F1 Grand Prix Car driven by Sergey Sirotkin, AI, VR Simulators and a collection of innovations were on display and were accompanied by experts who could answer questions so the usual networking over a cup of tea at the start of our meetings was replaced by an expo.
Peter Davies, Director for Security Concepts “and Head of Cunning Plans” at Thales e-Security and Chair of the Automotive Security Work Stream within the UK’s Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network (AESIN) then gave a terrific talk. He discussed the idea that the automotive industry was still trying to solve a cyber security problem in a system that’s going away (in the cars of yesterday) and ignoring the one that’s emerging (in the cars of tomorrow).
In line with Welsh Government's concerted push into the Automotive Sector, Coleg Gwent staged the event to showcase the work of their students at their Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale and they kindly offered their facilities for us to run a Cluster meeting at the same time to take advantage of these fantastic displays on that day.
The morning also included a "Meet the Buyer" event by Thales who are working with Welsh Government, Blaenau Gwent Council & USW, to set up a new National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Ebbw Vale and, as part of their continued local engagement plan, they provided more information of how local firms can engage with all of their business units (not just those who will be at the NDEC). Also, Coleg Gwent organised some engineering career advice sessions for their students on this campus which some proved useful for those members looking for staff.
So, this meeting was a great opportunity to visit a different venue, be hosted by Coleg Gwent (and Thales paid for the tea and biscuits), have a terrific speaker who gave us some insights into the cyber challenges of online cars and see some fantastic technology - who could ask for anything more?
21st & 22nd May 2018
Our May meeting was merged into the Digital Festival which was held over two days at the iconic Wales Millennium Centre.
The Welsh Cyber Security Clusters along with the GDPR Alliance negotiated an arrangement with the Digital Festival to create a Cyber Wales Data Protection Zone at the event and 15 Cluster members took part in the Zone with many others attending the event itself.
The Digital Festival is the biggest tech event in Wales and ran for the 6th time this year at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Many of you will have attended this event in recent years, either at the Celtic Manor or at last year’s event at the Tram Shed. The Millennium Centre venue was definitely a "step up” for the event this year which attracted many more business attendees from further afield. Presentation and discussion topics at the event included AI, IoT, Blockchain, 5G and of course Cyber Security & GDPR.
The Cyber Wales Zone
The ground floor space of the Millennium Centre was given over to exhibition stands and a wide range of organisations presented there, whilst up on the mezzanine area above the South entrance of the Millennium Centre and the Bar One coffee shop an area was set aside for seating, discussion and collaboration space. The Cluster sponsored this space and made room for Cluster and Alliance members to put up roll-up banners and brochure racks around the area where attendees came to meet the experts, drink coffee and chat about cyber and data protection in a relaxed atmosphere.
Arcanum Information Security
Astrix Integrated Systems
Charmwood Risk Management
Morgan & Morgan
53 Royal Signals Squadron
Cluster members Dan Lewis, CEO of Awen Collective and Chris McGrath of 53 Royal Signals Squadron & DESC, and Prof Andrew Beale who runs the IP Wales Cluster also took part in a discussion panel on "The Cyber Apocalypse" along with the Head of Security for Cisco UK and a director from Fing Networks.
At the same time Cluster members Sarah Edwards, Managing Director of Capital Networks and Debbie Garside, CEO of GeoLang were crowned among the "Top 10 Women in Tech in Wales" at an awards ceremony at the Festival.
It was great, not only to be attending the Festival as a Cluster along with the GDPR Alliance, but also to have a dedicated Cyber Wales Zone which was great fun for all concerned.
19th April 2018
Our April meeting was merged into the Welsh Industry Cyber Security Summit at Celtic Manor.
Some of you may have remembered this Summit when it was run by CEMET in early 2015 following in the footsteps of the NATO Summit, also held in Celtic Manor, which placed such an major emphasis on cyber.
CEMET (the Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies), based at the University of South Wales, within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering & Science is a programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government (WEFO).
The Summit was run again and this year it formed part of the Cyber Wales Ecosystem. Cyber Wales is an Internationally recognised brand that encapsulates all aspects of cyber security in Wales and acts as a mark of expertise, quality and clarity in a complex and rapidly changing area of life. It also provides a single web-portal where interested parties from all over the World can find information about the plethora of cyber related activities going on in Wales.
The Cyber Wales Ecosystem includes cyber activities being carried out by Government, Business, Law Enforcement and Academia and this year's Summit included sessions from each of these allies in the battle against cyber crime.
In partnerships with Welsh Government, Wales’ Cyber Security Clusters, TARIAN, and the University of South Wales, this event brought together experts in each field to learn about the ever-changing threat of Cyber Crime and how to protect businesses. Attendees gained insight into the innovative developments happening in Wales to combat the cyber threat and discovered how Cyber Wales became a founding partner of the GlobalEPIC "ecosystem of ecosystems".
09:30 - Registration
10:00 - Opening (by Julia James, Minister for Skills & Science, Leader of the House and Chief Whip of the Welsh Assembly)
10:15 - About Cyber Wales
10:30 - Presentations from Government
11:45 - Presentations from Business
13:00 - Lunch
14:00 - Presentations from Law Enforcement
15:15 - Presentations from Academia
16:30 - Close
This was the first time that the 4 pillars of cyber activity in Wales presented together and it proved to be a fantastic event which could become a regular fixture in the cyber calendar in Wales.
20th March 2018
Our March meeting has become something of a tradition as we have been hosted by the WRU at the home of Welsh Rugby - the Principality Stadium - during the 6 Nations Championship for the last 3 years and we were delighted to have the opportunity of returning there again this month.
We also had a rather topical line up for the meeting... the theme was GDPR which as you all know is the new European General Data Protection Regulation that will come into force in May.
What some of you may not know however, is that immediately after this Regulation was enacted and written into European law in May 2016 a Sub-Cluster was spun out of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster to focus entirely on the challenges of trying to prepare for the biggest change in data protection law for 20 years.
The first meeting of the GDPR Cluster took place in June 2016 at the Atradius building in Cardiff Bay and Kathy Buckley, the Senior Information Security Analyst with responsibility for ensuring GDPR compliance for the organisation in Wales, volunteered to run the Cluster. Since then, the Cluster has met pretty much every month at various venues around South Wales and enjoyed a wide range of speakers from the ICO themselves (who have pro-actively supported the Cluster from day one and spoken at multiple meetings) to KPMG and local Welsh companies who have shared their journeys towards compliance.
Kathy herself agreed to come along to the Cyber Cluster meeting (despite being unwell - poor Kathy) and tell us what they have been up to for the last 2 years and share some of the best guidance and advice that has emerged.
There was also a presentation that provided an overview of the GDPR with some of the "Must Do's" of compliance that of course incorporate Cyber Security measures - just in case any of those who attended still didn't know what the fuss is all about.
28th February 2018
On the eve of St David's Day, Cyber Wales and the Welsh Government, with support from the Department of International Trade at the British Embassy to Belgium, organised a Trade Mission to Brussels.
Throughout the day, a diverse group of Cyber Wales Cluster members, including 10 companies and 3 universities, were able to make short presentations to potential clients and private partners in Belgium and enjoy several networking opportunities to mingle with the attendees.
Participating companies included; Acuity DataGuard, Cardiff University Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics, Astrix Integrated Systems, Awen Collective Ltd, Capital Network Solution Ltd, Crypto Quantique, Morgan & Morgan, Pervade Software, Safonda Limited, Swansea University - CHERISH Digital Economy Research Centre, University of South Wales, Wolfberry, and Xcina.
The event was also attended by representatives of other Global Cyber Ecosystems including The Kosciuszko Institute from Poland, a fellow founding member of the GlobalEPIC (the Ecosystem of ecosystems for Partnerships and Innovation in Cybersecurity), and the Bretagne Cyber Valley from Brittany, France.
Keynote speeches were given by:-
- Sir Julian King, EU Security Commissioner
- Prof Mark Drakeford AM, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance
- Alison Rose, British Ambassador to Belgium
- Ulrich Seldeslachts, Belgian Cyber Security Cluster (L-SEC)
- Fabian Vandenreydt, Executive Chairman B-Hive European Collaborative Platform (B-Hive)
- Luigi Rebuffi, Secretary General & Founder European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO)
- Alain Courtois, Chief of Contracting, NATO NCI Agency
Also during the day Cyber Wales signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with B-Hive, a European collaborative innovation fintech platform that brings together major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players.
The day’s programme culminated in a fantastic networking reception at the Residence of the British Ambassador, HMA Alison Rose, jointly hosted by The Cabinet Secretary for Finance for Welsh Government, Mr Mark Drakeford AM. More than 300 business people from Belgium, France, Brittany & Poland attended the event which featured specially imported Welsh cuisine like Welsh Cakes, Bara Brith and drinks from the Penderyn Distillery including seaweed flavoured gin!
20th February 2018
Our February meeting explored the potential Cyber Roadmap - from an 11 years old school child to a young entrepreneur being supported to form their own business after graduating from University.
The meeting was hosted by the Alacrity Foundation at their historic building next to the river in Newport. The Alacrity team gave an overview of their history, methodology and success stories and there was an opportunity to meet the brand new cohort of budding entrepreneurs.
In addition, the guest speaker was from NCSC's Cyber First Programme which forms a pivotal part of the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme. It covers a broad range of activities; a comprehensive bursary scheme, a girls only competition and development courses at UK universities and colleges. Each activity is designed to give talented young people the support, skills, experience and exposure they need to become cyberists of the future.
All of the material used on the Cyber First events can be made available to organisations who also want to help identify cyber talent in the young and steer them towards exciting careers and our speaker explored how Cluster members can get involved.
20th January 2018
Very few people seem to recognise that the cyber security phenomenon that has steadily grown in our collective psyche for the last five years is fundamentally about crime. We hear so much about hackers and ‘hactivists’ hunching behind their computers that we do not see these people for what they are – criminals!
Unfortunately, our fixation with the computers, the software, the Internet, the dark web and the gadgets that cyber criminals use tends to draw our focus of attention away from the reality of what the cybercriminal is actually doing. In the aftermath of a cyberattack, we get caught up in the technological wizardry that made the attack possible and the need to find a computer-based solution to the hack but there is a lot more to fighting cyber criminals than this.
The Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU) of TARIAN (the Southern Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit), was created in early 2014 at the same time as the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster was forming and representatives of the Unit have attended pretty much every Cluster meeting since then. The Unit has steadily grown over the years and we have seen new faces popping up at the Cluster - but what exactly do they do?
The Unit, working closely with the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), provides a national investigative response to the most serious incidents of cyber-crime. However, current information suggests that 80% of Cyber crime is preventable and through partnership engagement and education the Unit seeks to develop Wales as a ‘secure digital nation’.
The Unit hosting the January meeting of the Cluster near to their HQ in Bridgend and provided a deeper dive into the strategies and tactics being employed in the fight against cyber crime and discussed how we, as businesses and cyber experts, can work more closely with them in this ongoing battle.
19th December 2017
The 2017 Christmas meeting of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster was hosted in the Great Hall of the amazing new Swansea University campus, which is now up and running and brimming over with students.
In October, Hillary Clinton visited the Campus to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world and to unveil a commemorative stone to mark the renaming of Swansea University’s College of Law & Criminology to the "Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law". Hillary Clinton's family originates in Wales with Great Grandparents from Abergavenny, Llangynidr and Pembrokeshire who emigrated to the USA to start the famous Pennsylvania family.
The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law sponsored our meeting which also marked the launch of a new member of the Cyber Wales Ecosystem - the IP Cluster - being run in conjunction with IP Wales, an award winning business support initiative operating out of the School. IP Wales recognises that cybercriminals are increasingly coming to recognise the value of confidential data held by Welsh SMEs, be it sensitive information about the business operation or customer information. The aim of both IP Wales and the IP Cluster is to help Welsh SMEs in their use of the Intellectual Property system with close working relationships with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office. Andrew Beale, Associate Professor at Swansea University gave a presentation on the IP Wales Cybercrime initiative (2017-20) and explained how the IP Cluster will work moving forward.
There was also a presentation on the new £32m Computational Foundry currently being built on the site which is fast becoming an impressive addition to the Swansea Bay skyline. This facility will act as a beacon for research collaborations and will look to attract leading researchers to Wales and make a solid contribution to computational cyber security.
There would have been be a tour of the Campus to showcase these brand new facilities but ubfortunately, the weather got in the way.
Being the Christmas meeting, there was an appetite for some mince pies and Cluster member, Dr Kerry Beynon of Acuity Legal, had very kindly sponsored a wonderful Xmas Buffet which provided the ideal gathering place to chat and network before and after the meeting itself.
A great way to end 2017 - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!
21st November 2017
Our November meeting was hosted the newest and trendiest venue in the Capital - the Tramshed.
This renovated railway site has seen huge crowds enjoying music concerts and gigs, martial arts training and demonstrations, gatherings of business groups such as Digital Tuesdays and has even hosted inward trade delegations from European countries in conjunction with Welsh Government and the Department for International Trade.
Perhaps one of it's biggest events was this year's Digital Festival which saw vendors exhibiting in transport containers and keynote talks on boats on the river as well as a packed set of talks in the rabbit warren that is the Tramshed and we were lucky enough to sample their facilities and hospitality for our Cluster meeting.
The guest speaker for the meeting was also a bit of an enigma - Thales.
One of the "Big 6" primes, Thales operate "from the bottom of the oceans to the depths of space and cyberspace".
There has been a lot of talk and rumour about some major investments of time and people (and of course money) in Wales by this giant company but what was less known is the extent to which Thales are already here, working among us in some of the most critical sectors in the Welsh economy.
With a very collaborative working style, which includes working second-string to SMEs who become the "primes" in some of their engagements, Thales are a well kept secret in the cyber community and were very keen to get to know Cluster members and play a more active role in the Cyber Wales Ecosystem.
Long-standing member of the Cluster, Chris Whitehead who has been working with Thales for some time, presented on the wide range of activities Thales are engaged in and provided some insights into how SMEs can work with Thales in Wales and beyond.
18th October 2017
This month, we merged our Cluster meeting with the launch of the new Airbus Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security in partnership with the Cardiff University Innovation Partnership.
We joined Cardiff University and Airbus as they outlined some of the key research areas and developments in cyber security. The launch included presentations by key representatives from academia, business and government and was an opportunity to find out how working together Wales can be positioned as a global force in emerging cyber security themes.
Opportunities for engagement for both business and academia were explored and the centre labs were open for the first time for guided tours and demonstrations.
- Dr Kevin Jones - Head of Cyber Security Architecture, Innovation and Scouting, Airbus
- Prof Karen Holford - Deputy Vice Chancellor Cardiff University
- Dr Pete Burnap - Reader in Data Science & Cyber Analytics, Cardiff University
- John Davies - Wales Cyber Security Clusters & Pervade Software
- Key Figure from NCSC (National Centre for Cyber Security)
A light buffet, refreshments and an opportunity for networking also provided a relaxing chat after the session.
19th September 2017
In September, the Cluster was proud to host Paul (Chich) Chichester, Board Director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, a part of GCHQ).
For some time now, the various cyber teams under GCHQ have become more and more open, forging relationships with the business community and academia to drive the UK's National Cyber Security Strategy forward as quickly and effectively as possible. We have seen many programmes and initiatives, such as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) with the Police, Cyber Security Centres for Excellence in Universities and the Cyber Essentials Scheme for SMEs etc.
The merging of many of these departments and teams into a single co-ordinated entity - the National Cyber Security Centre - has seen even more openness and some really exciting new initiatives which would not have seemed possible only a short time ago.
Chich, the Operations Director, gave a relaxed presentation during which he described the evolution of the NCSC and shared some of the recent activities and successes such as the Cyber First programme to encourage secondary school children to take a healthy interest in cyber security and the incredible Cyber Incubator which opens the doors of GCHQ in Cheltenham to cyber security start-ups.
This meeting was a rare opportunity to learn more about the NCSC and the venue for this very special meeting was just as special. Having completed a very successful pilot programme last year, the National Cyber Security Academy will be starting its very first 3 year under-graduate degree course in October, the first time a "project only" degree course in Cyber has been run anywhere. Using the large open-plan area on the top floor opposite the Academy, the University laid on tea, coffee and Welsh cakes for everyone. A big thank you to the USW team for hosting us again.
15th August 2017
Many thanks to all those who found their way to Wahaca in Cardiff city centre for the August meeting of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster which was a purely social gathering for those who were not off sunning themselves on holiday.
Once again, Wahaca did us proud with the use their cocktail bar in the upstairs mezzanine and the area soon filled up with people chatting over drinks and discussing the huge range of activities that have involved the Cluster over the last three years (yes, three years!). We were also joined by members of our sister Cluster in North Wales and of the Sub-Clusters who specialise in GDPR, DevOps and IP Protection and it was great to see people from all 5 of the groups come together.
Here's a toast to the year ahead and many more years to come!
18th July 2017
Our July meeting saw a return to Riverside in Newport for a welcome dive into a more technical topic. Damon Rands and his team at Wolfberry provided some insights into the recent ransomware attacks and lifting the lid off WannaCry cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system and propagated using EternalBlue, an exploit of Windows' Server Message Block (SMB) protocol that was stolen from the US NSA and leaked, and NotPetya (named after the older Petya worm that was targeted at critical national infrastructure) which also capitalised on the stolen EternalBlue exploit but seemed to be aimed at causing havoc rather than being a serious attempt to make money. Jordan Williams gave a demonstration of WannaCry in action and showed just how voracious this worm is which prompted a lot of interest and discussion on how to react to attacks such as these.
Damon also gave an introduction to Digital Leaders, a global initiative for senior leadership from different sectors promoting effective, long-term digital transformation with a growing community of over 100,000 senior leaders. The Cluster has an opportunity to shape Digital Leaders Wales and Damon gave an invitation to members to get involved.
With teas, coffees and of course Welsh Cakes the National Cyber Security Academy did a great job of hosting us again - many thanks to Steve Biggs and his team.
29th June 2017
This was the first time the North Wales and South Wales Cyber Security Clusters came together for a joint, all Wales cluster meeting since they were formed 3 years ago and it was made even more special by being run as part of the Digital Leaders Week initiative and the Wales Festival of Innovation. The meeting was aimed at bringing the very latest advice and best practice to West Wales for the first time - helping businesses and individuals in the Region to better protect themselves from ever changing cyber attacks.
Jason Davies - of the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster and cyber specialists on "zero vulnerability websites” gave a presentation on “The Must Do’s of Cyber Security”, explaining what businesses can do to better protect themselves from the rising threat of cyber attacks and how to stay ahead of the cyber attackers without having to spend a fortune doing it.
John Davies - of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster then talked about “GDPR - Challenge or Opportunity”, outlining why the additional work necessary to become compliant with GDPR over the next 12 months could be seen as an opportunity to differentiate a business using certifications like the Cyber Essentials Scheme to show that you are better than your competitors at protecting data and computer systems.
There were 33 people at the event and quite a few existing members of both the South and North Wales Clusters made the long journey to Aberystwyth. They met each other for the first time and also made the new-comers feel very welcome by demonstrating how sharing their experience and expertise can help everyone to grow each other’s businesses.
The event was aimed at individuals and businesses who are interested in cyber security and/or data protection and want to learn more about this very broad and highly topical issue. The people who attended on the day included owners of small to medium sized businesses, IT professionals and compliance managers from Ceredigion, as well as Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire in the South and Gwynedd in the North. University students working on computer related courses from Chester and Glyndwr met students from the National Cyber Security Academy and the University of South Wales and there were a number of people interested in re-training and finding new job opportunities in cyber security as well.
The afternoon was run as a very relaxed informal networking meeting with plenty of time to meet new people, chat over tea and welsh cakes and the Clusters would like to say a massive “THANK YOU” to Welsh Government for making everyone feel so welcome in their new building in Aberystwyth, particularly Jonathan Fortune and Neil Sandford who helped to organise the event.
16th May 2017
Our May meeting was hosted by the Intellectual Property Office at their offices in Newport. Cluster member Miles Rees, Senior Policy Advisor for Copyright & IP Enforcement invited the Cluster in to hear a talk on the elements of IP, from Copyright to Patents. The talk also included a many aspects of the crossover from IP to Cyber.
Also present was Andrew Beale, Director of IP Wales an award winning business support initiative operating out of the Law School at Swansea University. Their aim is to help Welsh SMEs with the use of the Intellectual Property system and they have a close working relationship with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as well as the IPO.
The presentation and the realisation that there is so much support in Wales prompted lot of discussion and interest and there was also a suggestion that a Sub-Cluster may be formed to provide a focal point for IP.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright and for ensuring that the IP system supports innovation and economic growth. It works for businesses and consumers and supports the transfer of knowledge. IPO is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and their mission is ‘Making Life Better by Supporting UK Creativity and Innovation’.
18th April 2017
Our April meeting was hosted by Cardiff and Vale College. Having visited the National Cyber Security Academy and the Computer Forensic Labs of the University of South Wales, we have learnt a lot about under-graduate and post-graduate degree courses in IT but this is not the only source of skilled and motivated people to fill the skills gap in our industry - College students are studying Diploma courses in IT Networking & System Support and Software Development.
Paul Kift, Cardiff and Vale College's Director of Business Development gave a great talk on the work the College are doing to promote cyber skills in both academic and vocational qualifications. This was followed by a presentation from David Randell Employer Engagement Manager at Risual Ltd whop partner with the College to provide Apprenticeship Schemes.
CAVC is one of the largest colleges in the country – transforming education and training across the capital region of Wales. They have over 20,000 students each year and a large staff team of industry experts, sector specialists and knowledgeable and experienced support teams. CAVC are teaching people in top class industry facilities and centres of excellence across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan; in the community and in workplaces across the region, Wales and the world. Their work with employers is award winning and continuing to grow at pace. They were named Wales Business Insider ‘College of the Year’ for the second consecutive year for partnerships with employers and were also recognised for leading work in People Development in 2015.
We were hosted in the brand new City Centre Campus, a landmark new build, 5 minutes from the train station, opened officially by the First Minister in October.
21st March 2017
The March Cluster meeting saw a return to the Principality Stadium where we were hosted by Principality themselves. The Welsh rugby team may not have had the best 6 Nations Tournament this year but we were privileged nonetheless to be hosted on "hallowed ground".
Cluster member Michal Edwards, Group Information Security at Principality has organised a fascinating meeting for us. We were treated to a guest presentation from David Ferbrache OBE, Technical Director of the Cyber Security Practice at KPMG. The practice was awarded the Compliance Register Platinum Award 2015 for the "Best Cyber Security Support Firm" and since joining them a year ago, David has led the development of cyber security services and also advises KPMG’s key clients on how best to defend against the most sophisticated cyber threats. Prior to working for KPMG, David was the Head of Cyber & Space at the Ministry of Defence and he has over 25 years’ experience of technology risk and information security, working at the most senior levels of government to formulate cyber policy, drive programme delivery and lead international engagement. With such a fascinating background David's talk titled "KPMG - The Evolving Nature of Cyber Security Risks" proved to be a real treat!
21st February 2017
Just over 2 years ago the US cyber security giant Alert Logic arrived in Cardiff. At our February meeting we all got to see behind the scenes at their offices and SOC and heard all about the services they provide.
The first European headquarters for the US firm were officially opened in October 2014 and, after a buoyant lively networking session over a cup of tea and Welsh cakes, we were welcomed by the person who masterminded the move. David Howarth was "Employee No.1" outside of the US and he led the expansion into the UK and Europe. He shared his vision for a European SOC and described his rationale for choosing Wales for his bold plans. The growth of the site speaks of the success of his choice with more than 130 staff already on board and more joining every month.
Attendees were treated to an introduction to the working SOC through a viewing pane wall. There were so many people that the group was split into two to watch security analysts correlate events from more than 10 Petabytes of client data (which grows by over a Petabytes each month) and while one group was viewing, the other was hearing about Welsh Government's plans to support members at events such as InfoSec, RSA and MWC.
We then retired to the main meeting room where Oliver Pinson-Roxburgh, EMEA Director of Solutions Architecture gave a terrific talk about the often overlooked and little understood field of Cloud security with plenty of insights backed up by research and experience. This talk was rounded off with a live hack demonstration to show that the website is still the "gaping hole" in most organisation's defences.
Alert Logic have been members of the Cluster for a long time, it was great to have a meeting hosted by them and what a meeting it was.
17th January 2017
For our January event we are fortunate to have been invited by Gareth Davies of the University of South Wales Computer Forensic Department in the Treforest Campus. During the meeting members were given a glimpse into the specialist industry facilities on offer at the University of South Wales. Gareth spoke about the security challenges around modern systems such as games consoles, car infotainment systems, mobile phones and home internet hubs. He also explained the university’s involvement in the EU funded ERASMUS project, DECAMP.
Once Gareth finished his talk, the visitors were given a tour around the cyber security facilities available at the Treforest Campus and gained a glimpse into the work of students.
Students who are studying at USW’s National Cyber Security Academy, which is based at the Newport City Campus, were also on hand to meet members of the cluster during the event.
“It was good to welcome the members of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster to USW, and give those who are working in the sector a look at how we are training the next generation of cyber security experts,” Gareth said. “There was a very lively Q&A session following the talk, and the visitors were impressed with the sector-leading research we are carrying out. It’s great for the academics here are USW, and our students, to be part of the South Wales cluster, which supports the Welsh Government’s commitment to Cyber Security – and the UK Government’s Cyber Security Strategy – by building cyber security knowledge, skills and capabilities in the region, and making this one of the most secure places in the world to do business.”
20th December 2016
Christmas again and although the Cluster gathered on the third Tuesday as normal, the meeting was a purely social gathering rather than our usual blend of education, news, opportunities and networking.
The social gathering we had in Wahacas in Cardiff (way back in July 2015) was so successful that we decided to hold our Xmas meeting there as well. We were once again using the cocktail bar in the upstairs mezzanine of the restaurant which was the first Wahacas restaurant in Wales and serves up the Tidiest Tacos on the Taff.
Nadolig Llawen i chi i gyd!
15th November 2016
In November we had a terrific opportunity 1to meet the first intake of budding students (Associates) at the National Cyber Security Academy in Wales. The University of South Wales (USW) and Welsh Government have joined forces to launch the pilot National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA), the first of its kind in Wales and a major UK initiative. It has been set up at USW’s Newport City Campus and first intake of associates started in October.
Also involving Welsh digital innovation company Innovation Point and major industry players – including Airbus, General Dynamics UK, Alert Logic, Information Assurance, QinetiQ and of course, the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster – the NCSA is working to close the expected skills gap in the cyber security sector.
Cluster members Pervade Software, Wolfberry, Silcox Information Security and Westgate Cyber were selected to participate in the Academy's Curriculum Steering Group and were proactive in helping to structure this new degree course. This course involves current USW computer forensics and computer security undergraduates who are working on real-world projects set for them by NCSA partners, such as Cluster members. So, the challenge now is to provide these keen young students with live, short-term projects for them to work on while the USW faculty use the content of the projects to draw out the required learning points.
During the meeting everyone had a chance to meet the associates themselves and there was a presentation, very well delivered by two of the Associates - James John and Antony Temme - who explained all about the structure of the course and explored the kinds of projects that would best help the students whilst also providing valuable additional resources for Cluster members.
Also during the meeting, there was an opportunity for the more technically minded in the Cluster to hold their own break-out session. The session was expertly led by Karl Greenfield and Corey Jones of Capital Network Solutions and explored a range of topics including disk encryption hacks and associated forensic techniques.
18th October 2016
Our October meeting was merged into the Get Safe Online Event, hosted by the Southern Wales Regional Cyber Crime Unit.
The Unit linked up with Get Safe Online, Welsh Government and the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster to provide an opportunity for attendees to learn from industry experts and ensure their business is not left vulnerable to cyber attacks.
In addition, various Cluster members were showcasing their capabilities at the event and were on hand to answer questions and offer support.
20th September 2016
Our September meeting was hosted by 160th Infantry Brigade & Headquarters Wales or Brigâd 160 (Cymru) at the Ty Llewellyn Barracks in Cardiff, home of “The Welsh Signallers” (53 Signal Squadron “pumdegtri", the only reserve Royal Signals Unit in Wales).
With its Headquarters at Brecon, 160 (Wales) Brigade is at the hub of the Army in Wales. Dating back to 1908, the Brigade saw service during both World War I and World War II with battle honours that date back to Gallipoli and has a proud history of being at the centre of Army activity in the Principality for over a century. Within 160 (Wales) Brigade area are some of the Army's top training sites, including the Infantry Battle School at Brecon and Sennybridge Training Area. Indeed, most British infantry soldiers visit these sites at some stage during their career and the SAS carries out much of its training in Wales's tailor-made rugged terrain.
It's not surprising then that 160 (Wales) Brigade is so heavily involved in the Army's initiatives The Armed Forces Covenant and The Employer Recognition Scheme to foster acknowledgement and understanding that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
Major Craig Middle and Colonel David Hammond were fantastic hosts for the meeting. Major Middle explained the initiatives and discussed how companies can get involved and gain recognition for their commitment to the armed forces community and Colonel Hammond discussed the link to Cyber in South Wales and the importance of defence contracts.
Jan Barwell, Business Advisor for Superfast Business Wales gave a great presentation about the online support and face-to-face help available from expert digital business advisors from Welsh Government. There are obvious synergies between the aims of helping more businesses to benefit from superfast internet capabilities and the Cluster's aims of helping businesses to be more secure when operating online. The Business Wales Team agreed to let people know about the eco-system of cyber security capability in the Cluster and members agreed to promote the services available from the Superfast team. Click here for a copy of Jan's slides.
There was also a special mention for the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster team for the upcoming Byte Night sleep-rough for charity. Richard Williams from PiSYS had done a great job of gathering a team of volunteers and there was a general appeal for donations for the event taking place on Friday 7th October - good luck gang!
16th August 2016
Our Summer holiday meeting was hosted by Tec Marina at their terrific facilities in Penarth.
"Tec Marina is a space for crazy people, because only crazy people are changing the world" said Jan Mühlfeit, who until recently was chairman of Microsoft Europe when he officially opened Wales’ new innovation hub.
A flexible serviced offices, co-working and meeting space that has been designed to facilitate the growth of some of Wales’ most exciting and forward-thinking companies. Tec Marina is a connected, highly creative and collaborative community brought to you by OpenGenius. As an organisation that specialises in developing innovative & creative training and software solutions; innovation is in their blood. Struggling to find an office that suited their creative values and vision, they decided to build their own innovative and inspiring work space & open it up to like-minded businesses that share their way of thinking. Natalie Rowley of Tec Marina gave a great presentation about the history behind the creation of the site and some of the work they have done since opening and also provided guided tours to show off the hub's facilities to show what makes the community so unique.
We also had a very moving and inspiring presentation from Kellie Chater, Senior Events Fundraiser at Action for Children, all about the Byte Night charity event in October. Byte Night is the technology and business industry sleep out event in aid of Action for Children and quite a few technology and other big companies are taking part (including Capital Networks, Acorn Recruitment, KPMG, Spindogs, BT, Admiral and Cap Gemini). The event has been running for 19 years and raises funds and awareness to tackle the root causes of youth homelessness. Since the event began, it has raised over £8.4 million for Action for Children - last year raising over £1 million! Sadly homelessness is a reality for many young people across the UK and it is estimated up to 100,000 young people were homeless last year. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 homeless young people will attempt suicide and 1 in 7 will have been physically or sexually assaulted resulting in them ending up on the street. To raise funds and awareness of this pertinent issue, this year the sleep out will take place on October 7th at 10 locations across the UK: Edinburgh, Belfast, Thames Valley, Cambridge, London, the North West, South West, North East, Midlands and of course, in the Wales.
This will be the first Byte Night Wales event, so we need your help make this first year a great success! In Wales, Action for Children are aiming to have 145 sleepers taking part; they ask each sleeper to raise £500 each, or £2500 for a team of 5, and they provide fundraising tips, materials and support to help sleepers reach their target. To register for the event go to http://www.bytenight.org.uk/register-for-byte-night. You are able to register as an individual or create a team of your own (if your business wants to enter a team). However, the Cluster has also formed a team and if you'd like to join that then please make sure you look for the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster in the "Company" drop down menu in Step 2 and then select "Individual" in Step 4. If you are unable to attend but you'd like to support the Cluster Team members then please feel free to sponsor us at http://www.justgiving.com/south-wales-cyber-security-cluster-south-wales-cyber-security-cluster
19th July 2016
Our July meeting was hosted by Airbus Group EndeavR Wales at the amazing Airbus Group Campus at Celtic Springs Business Park.
Nick Crew, the Operations Manager at Airbus Group Endeavr Wales, first gave an overview of Airbus Group and their operations in Wales and introduced Dan Kilby, Head of Network Infrastructure Secure Communications. Nick then went on to explain the good work being done by EndeavR Wales and discussed the opportunities they are providing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their mechanisms for providing funding and potential partnerships for research and development projects in Wales.
Endeavr is a research and innovation organisation co-sponsored by Welsh Government, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Group. As a foundation company, they work alongside SMEs and academic institutions, including Cardiff University.
Nick Crew's ethos is “If SMEs can produce products of the future which Airbus are going to buy, then it helps the SME, helps Airbus, helps the Welsh economy and also the skills and the jobs that follow on through academia if we provide proactive support”.
This session ended with an invitation to Cluster members with ideas or innovations to contact Nick and see if there is any synergy between their work and Airbus' focus areas. Please contact email@example.com
21st June 2016
This month's meeting was hosted by Cluster member Ceri Charlton, the Group Information Security Manager for Atradius.
Atradius UK provides trade credit insurance and collections services for UK businesses and as part of a worldwide team with a strategic presence in 50 countries. They have been supporting UK businesses for well over 90 years and can trace their roots back to the days of the First World War when the Export Credit Guarantee Department was set up by the government of the day to promote and support export trade. Since then, Atradius has accumulated credit information on 200 million companies worldwide which represents an "information security versus freedom of information" challenge of global proportions.
After some introductions, the meeting was split into 3 breakout sessions: The EU General Data Protection Regulation; Cloud Security: and, The Insider Threat. These groups entered into lively discussion for an hour or so and then everyone came back together for announcements of News & Opportunities and some more networking with the wonderful fairy cakes.
The GDPR session was facilitated by Kathy Buckley who has responsibility within Atradius for preparing for the new EU regulation and Kathy proposed that a new sub-group be formed for cluster members who are also interested in getting a head start on the changes to data privacy to collaborate, share ideas and best practice in the run-up to 2018. Additional meetings could be set up, a virtual cluster could be created on the UK Cyber Security Forum's CyberCollaborate Portal and document sharing could be organised. As a starting point, Kathy agreed to co-ordinate a meeting in July and suggested people look at the ICO's "Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 12 steps to take now" document as a good starting point (see here for details).
This new format was warmly welcomed and enjoyed by the 60+ attendees and it was agreed that breakout sessions such as these should be run at future meetings whenever the venue is appropriate.
17th May 2016
This meeting was hosted by Cluster member Rhodri Evans at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the Kingsway in Cardiff.
We had a terrific speaker lined up… Jim Simpson from Secti Ltd presented a case study based on a cyber investigation he and colleagues completed with the North Wales Police. The presentation included a live demonstration on the attack kill chain including recon, social engineering, exploitation and post exploitation.
Jim is an Information Technology Hobo, moving from Web Design and Integration, to Business Analysis, Data Centre Migration, PCI audit and Security Risk, he's finally called home DFIR. With well over a decade in IT, several SANS certifications, accepted on to their mentor program and even a Post Grad Diploma in business management Jim has an exceedingly well rounded view of security and the wider business implications.
The demonstration was interactive and there was no shortage of questions and comments from the 50 or so attendees.
19th April 2016
This meeting was hosted by the Welsh Government ICT Sector Team at their offices in the QED Centre in Treforest.
Welsh Government champions like Neil Sandford, Business Development Manager for ICT Inward Investment and Jonathan Fortune, Strategy Manager for ICT have been staunch friends of the Cluster right from the very first meeting and they have proactively supported us with news, opportunities, sponsored oversees trade delegations and events like InfoSec and the Nuclear Industry Cyber Conference.
This meeting was set up to give Cluster members a chance to better understand what the Welsh Government is trying to do not only in the ICT Sector but also in other key sector teams and find out more about who they’re working with. The following people gave brief introductions to their teams:-
- Kevin Davies - Head of Sector, Financial & Professional Services Sector Team
- Mark Hughes - Business Development Executive, Manufacturing Sector Team
- Simon Cooper - Manager, Research and Development Projects
- Paul James - Contracts Manager, International Trade Programmes
- Rhys Morris - Senior Manager, Entrepreneur Group Business Wales
We were also joined by Elizabeth Lumley, Director of Global Ecosystem Development at Startupbootcamp, a global network of industry focused startup accelerators. With successful industry-specific accelerator programmes running in the USA, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Singapore Elizabeth was in the QED Centre for a meeting with Welsh Government to discuss the possibility of bringing an accelerator to Wales and decided to join the Cluster meeting.
17th March 2016
Our March meeting was moved to form part of the WEFO Horizon 2020 Annual Meeting.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest European Union (EU) research and innovation programme. It is aimed at securing the global competitiveness of Europe. The programme focuses on excellence in science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for public and private sectors to work together.
The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) have set up a Horizon 2020 Unit specifically tasked with managing the delivery of the EU Structural Funds programmes.
The Unit hosted Wales' first Annual Horizon 2020 Event in February 2015. With the theme of "Building a stairway to excellence in Wales – maximising the impact of EU funding for research and innovation", the event not only set the scene in terms of the strategic approach to research and innovation in Wales but also the practical support available for Welsh organisations to access Horizon 2020.
The 2016 Horizon 2020 Event was being held at the Future Inns, Cardiff Bay and had the theme "Strategies for Success". Researchers, businesses, public bodies, practitioners and policy makers had an opportunity to hear from key note speakers and an expert panel during the morning to highlight some of Wales' early successes under the EU's largest research funding programme, whilst also providing a unique opportunity to explore the strategies for success. It inspired experienced campaigners and those with hidden potential to pursue the many opportunities available from Horizon 2020, as well as other EU funds that support research and innovation.
The afternoon will offered detailed H2020 workshops, including one on Cyber Security - Jointly organised with Innovation Point and the Welsh Cyber Security Clusters. We took this invitation to stage an H2020 workshop on Cyber Security as an opportunity to bring the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster together for the first time and to run a series of talks aimed specifically at how the Welsh Cyber Security community can target, bid for and win available European funding.
16th February 2016
Our February meeting was hosted by Cluster member Craig Philips, Group IT Manager for the WRU at the Millenium Stadium, which has been recently renamed the Principality Stadium. The meeting took place in the incredible South Stand Lounge with a view straight down the pitch which was being prepared for the next 6 Nations match.
The guest speaker was John Elliott a payments, privacy & cyber security specialist and academic researcher who is currently Head of Security for Principality Building Society. He took this opportunity to rehearse a very special talk, that he will soon be presenting at the RSA Conference 2016 in San Francisco at the end of the month, about the lessons cyber security specialists can learn from the Great Fire of London.
Marie Caruso-Kelly from eCycle briefed the group on her attempts to secure a discount for Cluster members at the Softbox event in York on the 20th April and explained that anyone wishing to submit an idea for a speaking slot at the even needs to do so by 22nd February.
Debbie Garside from GeoLang told the group that she has negotiated an opportunity for a small number of Cluster members who are pre-profit with a product which is market ready, to exhibit at the Cyber Security Show for free, on 8th-9th March 2016.
Ceri Charlton from Atradius told the group that he had a number of Graduate and Intern positions available in his IT Department and asked Cluster members to keep their ears to the ground for good candidates.
41 companies attended including Regency Consulting a member of North Wales Cyber Security Cluster and Simon Renault from Innovation Point who briefed the members on the upcoming Horizon 2020 events.
19th January 2016
Our January meeting was hosted by Cluster member Marie Caruso-Kelly and the team at E-Cycle. E-Cycle Limited started trading in September 2013, after the acquisition of the assets and intellectual property of the former Remploy Ecycle business. This ensured that many jobs were protected, and that vulnerable people continue to enjoy the benefits of working and contributing to the company’s continued success. E-Cycle Limited now operates from modern, larger, and newly refurbished premises at Dinas Isaf Industrial Estate in South Wales. The business continues to predominantly employ people with disabilities. E-Cycle has continued the success of Remploy e-cycle and is one of the major players in the UK IT Lifecycle / Refurbishment market.
On arrival, Cluster members were treated to a tour of the new facilities in small groups before being taken to the meeting room where a great selection of biscuits, cakes, tea and coffee was waiting.
Also waiting was a camera. ITV Wales attended the meeting and were filming for their upcoming news series about the importance of cyber security.
There was also a great speaker for the meeting:-
Steve Inglessis UK Country Manager for Blancco Technology Group a leading, global provider of mobile device diagnostics and secure data erasure solutions. Steve gave a talk on the critical elements of data scrubbing and secure disposal of IT equipment that so often is left with personal and sensitive data intact for unscrupulous people to find and exploit.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Teamwork ICT, Crystal IT, Accelero Digital, ZenRS, Alert Logic, Net Consulting Ltd, ITSUS Consulting, DataTek Secure Solutions, Arrow Ltd, Coast Consultants, Astrix IT, Computer People Ltd, PiSYS Ltd, BlackCAT, Penarth Consulting, ITCS Ltd, eCycle Ltd, WJEC, JCP Solicitors, and Martyn Ford & Jordan Williams. Also, Simon Renault from Innovation Point attended and briefed the members on the upcoming Horizon 2020 events.
Marie has very kindly created a slide deck with all of the information imparted during the tour as an aide memoir and I'm sure we would all be very happy to refer clients to Marie if they were in the market for secure data erasure solutions. click here for slides
15th December 2015
Our Christmas meeting was hosted by the team at the Wales Millennium Centre. The Centre is Wales’ national home for the performing arts. Aiming to truly become the ffwrnais awen (“furnace of inspiration”) of its world famous inscription, the Centre is committed to working with people of all ages within its diverse community and since 2004 it has lived up to its promise of "Bringing the best of the world to Wales and showcasing the best of Wales to the world".
We had two speakers for the meeting:-
Ben Banks a pro-active Cluster member, is the European Information Security Manager at RR Donnelley Plc. Getting well and truly into the Christmas spirit, Ben had written and brilliantly enacted a poem, based on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The poem, sprinkled liberally with cyber security terminology held closely to the sentiments of the "long voyage" that we are all embarked in in our battles with worms, trojans, hacktivists, social engineers and nation state attacks and reminded us all of the perils of "shooting the albatross" and bringing down the supernatural evils of the Dark Net on our shipmates.
Tony Venus is Head of Standards and Qualifications at The Tech Partnership, a growing network of employers, collaborating to accelerate growth in the global digital economy. It is focused on: New talent - inspiring young people, particularly girls, about technology education and careers; New jobs - accelerating the flow of talented people from all backgrounds into technology careers, with a particular focus on apprentices and graduates; New skills - helping employers develop the strategic digital skills for growth, for example cyber security, big data, mobile, e-commerce and the Internet of Things; and Raising standards: setting standards for skills, and accrediting and promoting education and training that meets them. It embraces all employers who rely on technology for growth and competitiveness. Tony provided a background talk on his work on the cataloguing of skills and knowledge in cyber security and coaxed members into a discussion exploring the capability that should be included in a new skills framework for apprenticeships.
It was great to see Stuart Lewis from the University of South Wales, Madeline Carr from Aberystwyth University, Lawson Coombes from Swansea University and some 2nd year cyber security students from the University of West of England on home for the holidays but still keen to learn more and meet cyber security professionals. Also, Simon Renault from Innovation Point.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, UDL, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, iSecure Consulting, Teamwork ICT, Net Consulting Ltd, ITSUS Consulting, DataTek Secure Solutions, Alert Logic, PiSYS Ltd, eCycle Ltd, Alpha Fencing Ltd, 888 Group and BM TRADA. Also, Rhodri Evans and John Elliott from Principality Building Society and Simon Lavin with his son Jake also home for a break from Coventry University.
The meeting was rounded off perfectly with a Christmas buffet and a suitable tipple, generously sponsored by Tony Venus from The Tech Partnership, which triggered a small contingent to continue the Xmas revelling into the early hours of the following morning.
17th November 2015
The November meeting of the Cluster was hosted by Innovation Point at their brand new offices in The Platform, next to the railway station in Newport. The aim of this new organisation is to access the £80bn in European funding set aside for project-based schemes and in so doing help to boost the Welsh economy. The Innovation Point team will be able to identify when funding is becoming available, watching the radar for opportunities from Europe, UK Trade and Investment, the Welsh Government and other bodies, and also will work closely with businesses in the area to know which are looking for funding and/or could prompt specific projects. Welsh Government has been incredibly supportive of the Cluster from the moment we formed and when David Warrender, Director Digital Wales, stepped out to become the CEO of Innovation Point with Simon Renault, Programme Manager for Delivering a Digital Wales becoming Head of Special Projects we were determined to assist this new venture in any way possible.
As soon as there was furniture put in the building, Simon invited the Cluster to stage a meeting and we were made to feel very welcome with new coffee mugs and a pack of biscuits. David Warrender opened the meeting with an overview of the aims of Innovation Point and Simon followed this with a presentation about the planned National Cybersecurity Academy, which will be modelled on the very successful National Software Academy run by Cardiff University in the same building. A critical success factor for the Academy, which will revolve around 3-6 week project work in place of classroom lectures, is to provide "real world" project work for the students to work on and Simon made an appeal to the Cluster members to get involved.
The next speaker was Chris Roberts who has for the last 32 years worked in the telecommunications industry and has extensive engineering and commercial experience, in small, medium and large organisations including BT, Newbridge Networks and Chronos Technology. Chris is currently a freelance consultant and came to the Cluster to share with us his experience of GPS (Global Positioning System). He told us that GPS delivers far more than positional information, he busted some myths and explained that GPS is more pervasive than we realise and warned us of the cyber threats it can contribute to in many industries because GPS is not just for your Sat Nav, critical systems now rely on it. A real eye-opener!
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Blaythorne Group and Cohesive Communications Ltd.
It was great to see Sara Giro Correia from The CHERISH-DE Centre – or Challenging Human Environments and Research Impact for a Sustainable and Healthy Digital Economy - a new initiative at Swansea University to help position the UK as a world leader in digital economy innovation. Also, Rob Griffiths a Project Manager from Welsh Government and Stuart Lewis from the University of South Wales.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, UDL, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Teamwork ICT, ITSUS Consulting, ITCS, eCycle Ltd and BM TRADA.
20th October 2015
The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) organised, for the 3rd year, the European Cyber Security Month initiative and during the month of October 240 activities were staged across 32 countries to raise awareness and share knowledge of cyber security.
In Wales, an event was organised by the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster in conjunction with the Research, Engagement & Innovation Services Team at Swansea University who were alerted to the presence of the Cluster and the opportunity to share an event by Cluster members Accelero Digital.
In the morning, delegates were able to browse table-top stands set up by cyber security specialist companies from the Cluster and research teams from the university and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This provided a relaxed environment for people to ask questions, explore current issues and learn more about cyber security from experts in the field.
In the afternoon, the following presentations were run:-
- Policy Theme - Jonathan Fortune, ICT Strategy for Welsh Government click here for slides
- Research Theme - Dr Madeleine Carr, Aberystwyth University click here for slides
- Education Theme - Dr Markus Roggenbach, Swansea University click here for PDF
- Law Enforcement Theme - Detective Constable Craig Gillespie, Southern Wales Regional Cyber Crime Unit click here for slides
- Industry Theme - John Davies, Pervade Software Ltd click here for slides
- Small Business Theme - Kelvin Jones, Accelero Digital Ltd click here for slides
Here is an extract from the opening talk given by Dr Stuart MacDonald, Associate Professor and Director of Swansea University's multidisciplinary cyberterrorism research project:-
I’d like to open the afternoon with an item that appeared in the national press at the end of last week. The headline was: “Crime set to soar overnight as ‘cyber’ offences included in official total for first time”.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales uses victim-report data to estimate the number and types of crime each year. The latest figures (for year ending June 2015) were released last week. These figures reported a total of 6.5 million offences – a 8% decrease on the previous year.
The figure of 6.5 million offences, includes roughly 600,000 fraud offences (599,689). But it excludes cybercrime and online fraud. It also excludes computer misuse offences. In a separate pilot study, the Crime Survey estimated that, if you include all instances of fraud including online fraud, the number of frauds in the crime survey would increase from 600,000 to 5.1 million. And there are a further 2 million computer misuse offences, including hacking and malware offences.
So if you were to include these cyber offences in the crime figures, the total number of crimes would increase from 6.5 million to 13 million. In other words, instead of an 8% decrease crime levels would double! On paper at least! This obviously presents a political problem for the Government. It is also an important criticism of current approaches to calculating crime levels. It is reminiscent of comedian Vic Reeves’s comment that 88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.
For the purposes of today, though, it is worth reflecting on these figures. An estimated 5.1 million frauds and 2 million computer misuse offences. That works out as one cyber offence every 4.5 seconds – or 13.5 offences per minute. In other words, roughly 50 offences since I started speaking. It also means that today cyber offences are now the most prevalent form of offending. Indeed, a report by Norton estimated that the cost of cybercrime to the UK is £1.8bn.
That is why an event like today is so important.
Today’s event forms part of European Cyber Security Month. Coordinated by the European Union, European Cyber Security Month is an annual event that was first held in October 2012. The aims include raising awareness of cybersecurity, promoting safer Internet use for all users, and enhancing political and media interest in information security.
This year’s Cyber Security Month features 223 events across 30 different European countries, from Finland and Estonia in the north east of Europe, to Romania, Turkey and Cyprus in the south east, to Spain and Portugal in the south west and Iceland, Ireland and the UK in the north west. There are a total of six events in the UK. The other UK host cities are: London, Belfast, Salford and Edinburgh. We’re proud to say that this is the official event being held in Wales.
The event was a great success and it will be staged again next year as an integral part of European Cyber Security Month in Wales.
15th September 2015
The September meeting of the Cluster was held at The TechHub, Wind Street, Swansea, SA1 1DP. TechHub hosted this regular monthly meeting of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster as part of their programme of events to encourage start-ups to meet, collaborate, network, learn and have fun. The meeting was also supported by NVI Wales.
- The first speaker was Samuel Mathias. Samuel has worked for the last year and a half in LA for Universal Studios as part of the Content Security Technology and Operations team. He talked about what happens in the movie industry to protect content and the security used on various platforms to help protect and track leaked content.
- The second speaker was Parvez Siddiqui who is currently one of the Senior Internet Investigators at the British Phonographic Industry, where he has been for the last 6 years. He has been involved in many projects during his tenure at the BPI which involve the protection of musical content, as well as the promotion of legal services within the UK. Parvez is currently on the production team for the Brit Awards, involved with content protection and the fingerprinting of audio/visual assets. Working within the music industry has proved to be a full circle experience for Parvez, who worked at his local record shop when he was 17, His current role combines him with his love of music, as well as with his technical skills.
- The third speaker was Kevin White, the Head of Systems Development in the IT Team at TATA Steel in Port Talbot. Kevin shared some of the day-to-day challenges he faces managing industrial systems as well as traditional IT systems and discussed what prompted him to join the Cluster to meet cyber security experts and learn more about what he could be doing to better protect his vast infrastructure on the 7 mile long site.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including , 888 Group, Avensure, CPS Group, Dot Networks, GIA Konda, IEE, ITCS, Lead In, Medaphor, MicroTechnical, My IT Matters, Old Keye, Vibe TV and Xuvasi.
It was great to see representatives from Tarian ROCU Cyber Crime Team, Welsh Government Cyber Security Strategy Team, NVI Wales, DVLA, NHS Wales, and Swansea University.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, UDL, Capital Network Solutions, Clearstream, Net Consulting Ltd, ITSUS Consulting, Accelero Digital, Penarth Management, RR Donnelly, Arrow, Computer People, Hex Security, Mirus, PGI, PiSYS, Spherical International, Vizolution and Zen RS.
18th August 2015
This meeting of the Cluster was held at The Central Library Hub, The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1FL.
The guest speaker was Rhodri Evans - Head of Group Information Security - Principality Building Society who gave a very entertaining talk about what led him to a career in cyber security and some of the challenges he faces working for a large financial institution which is under constant threat from cyber attacks. The insights he gave into his approach to protection and readiness and his opinions on current best practice frameworks were of tremendous value to the cyber professionals in the room and encouraged a lot of discussion during the networking session.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Spherical International, Hex Security, JW5 Associates, E-Cycle Ltd, Coast Consultants and Cyber Cymru.
It was great to see representatives from Tarian ROCU Cyber Crime Team, Welsh Government Cyber Security Strategy Team, Business Wales ICT Team, NHS Wales, WJEC and degree students from the University of South Wales.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Clearstream, Crystal IT, Teamwork ICT, Net Consulting Ltd, ITSUS Consulting, Accelero Digital, EchoSec, Penarth Management, RR Donnelly, Alpha Fence and independent consultant Meirion Morgan.
21st July 2015
This was a very special meeting. It marked the first year anniversary of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster which held it's inaugural meeting in Cardiff in July 2014.
Members and guests gathered at Wahaca Cardiff in the St David's Centre, Cardiff for some drinks, some Mexican market eating and some socialising.
It was also an opportunity to take stock of everything that the Cluster has achieved in the past twelve months:-
- Growing the membership ten-fold with over 150 people from 108 organisations on our mailing list
- Forging strong ties to Welsh Government and Steering groups such as Innovation Point and Digital Catapult Wales
- Representing the Welsh Government on their stand at InfoSecurity Europe in London
- Opening the Nuclear Industry Cyber Conference on behalf of the Welsh Government
- Speaking engagements at InfoSec, Digital 2015, Welsh Cyber Summit, and the Nuclear industry Cyber Conference
- Staging two open events under the Welsh Festival of Innovation
- Running Cluster meetings in Newport, Cardiff and Swansea
- Quoted in the Guardian, the Times, Secure Computing, InfoSec Magazine (and the South Wales Argos!)
- Partnering with law enforcement to fight cyber crime - Wales Regional Node of the Cyber Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) through Tarian (the Southern Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit), plus involvement with eCrime Wales and Get Safe Online
- Links with trade bodies - ESTnet, Digital Tuesday, TechHub Wales and NVI Wales (the National Virtual Incubator)
- Connections with academia - University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Coleg Gwent, Swansea University and the Welsh Joint Education Committee
- Satellite members of the Cluster have gone on to form the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster
Many members of the Cluster have secured additional business and formed working partnerships & collaborations thanks to the relationships forged at Cluster meetings and after speaking at one of those meetings, a senior advisor at the Department of Business Innovation & Skills described the group as "a thriving community of cyber security expertise".
23rd June 2015
The second of the June meetings of the Cluster was hosted by NVI Wales and TechHub Wales at The Institute of Life Science at Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea.
This meeting was an open event for people interested in finding out more about Cyber Security and was registered under the Wales Festival of Innovation.
This is how the TechHub Blog described the event...
The talk was led by John Davies of Pervade Software and Damon Rands of Wolfberry, with many other members of SWSCS in the audience answering specialist questions in their own area of expertise.
John walked us through the Perfect Storm of cyber security that is encroaching on SMEs. The Government is pushing more and more money into the UKs IT infrastructure and more importantly into cyber security. Unfortunately the traditional thinking from SMEs is that they don’t need to worry about cyber security as why would anyone want to steal the data from their small company? John emphasised that this can be extremely dangerous thinking using the example of last years Target breach in the US which was due to one of their suppliers’ security being breached. Supply chain attacks such as this amongst other examples were clear indications as to why all businesses need to be aware of their cybersecurity.
John briefly explained the three “must do’s” of cyber security: Risk Assessment, Penetration Testing and Security Monitoring, and how they come together to make cyber security a financial no-brainer for all SMEs. Damon then talked us through these in a bit more detail before handing back to John who introduced Cyber Essentials.
Cyber Essentials is a slimmed down version of the cyber security ISO standard. It costs only £300 for the certification and is becoming more and more important for companies. All UK government contractors need Cyber Essentials and the NHS is introducing it as a requirement very soon. Cyber Essentials is important for supply chain security, as any weak link in the chain could lead to a potentially large security breach.
The event rounded off with some Q&A from the SMEs present answered by various specialists from the SWCSC. Then coffee, cake and a chance for some networking while enjoying the view from the balcony over Swansea Bay and Mumbles!
John and the SWCSC are returning Swansea on September 22nd for another event on Cyber Security held right here in the Tech Hub! More details will follow closer to the date!
The event was attended by 51 people including 14 cluster members and many individuals from local organisations keen to learn more.
16th June 2015
The first of the June meetings of the Cluster was held at The Courtyard Boardroom within the Economic Development Service Area of Cardiff Council based in County Hall.
This meeting was an open event for people interested in finding out more about Cyber Security and was registered under the Wales Festival of Innovation.
The event began with a short presentation by John Davies of Pervade Software and interactive discussion session to define what Cyber Security is all about and establish why is has become so critical. There was an additional short presentation by Damon Rands of Wolfberry introducing the main approaches to identifying cyber vulnerability and plenty of opportunity to ask questions, discuss specific issues and explore ways to protect businesses from this growing threat.
The event was attended by 43 people including some cluster members and many individuals from local businesses keen to learn more.
19th May 2015
The April meeting of the Cluster was held at the Clearstream Data Centre in Church Village. Clearstream have provided hosting services since 2006 and now operate their own 7,000sqft data centre in Church Village near Cardiff. Clearstream specialise in supporting IT providers who are moving their services "into the Cloud" and have a range of facilities, pricing models and services.
In addition to hosting the meeting, Richard Williams of Clearstream also organised guided tours of the facility for the members of Cluster.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including CryptoBuild and WJEC a consortium of 22 local education authorities in Wales.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Skybrid, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, ZenRS, Net Consulting Ltd, Accelero Ltd, ITSUS Consulting, Accelero Digital and Computer People.
21st April 2015
The April meeting of the Cluster was held at the NGD Data Centre in Newport. The opening of Next Generation Data's Newport Data Centre has brought one of the largest installations of its kind in Europe to South Wales. The highly-customisable data centre provides Tier 3 Colocation services and is perfectly situated to meet the ever increasing data needs of companies in both Wales and the South-West of England.
In addition to hosting the meeting, Steve Davis of NGD also organised guided tours of the facility for the members of Cluster.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Echosec and examiners from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) the official government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Crystal IT Services Ltd, Net Consulting Ltd, Datatek Secure Solutions Ltd, Accelero Ltd, Clearstream Technology, ITSUS Consulting and Computer People.
17th March 2015
The March meeting of the Cluster was held at the Digital Cardiff Showcase. The Digital Cardiff team sits within the Economic Development Service Area of Cardiff Council based in County Hall.
The meeting was attended by Wayne James, Cyber Lead at the ICT Exploitation Unit at Welsh Government and Detective Sergeant Eddie May from Tarian ROCU Cyber Crime Unit. In addition, Clare Johnson, Programme Leader for the Foundation Degree in IT Security at Coleg Gwent also attended with Nicolas Page 2nd Year Student and Ben Matthews 1st Year Student.
The guest speaker was Steve Williams, Senior Policy Advisor for Cyber Security Sector Growth at the UK Government's Department for Business Innovation & Skills. who provided a helicopter view of how BIS strives for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow businesses. Steve was keen to understand drivers for cluster growth and will also shared information on current growth initiatives as well as stimulating a lot of discussion about the differentiation of the Welsh Cluster.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Clearstream Technology Ltd and Pinnacle Group as well as independent consultant Michael Eaton of Stratel Consultants Ltd who is currently working with Bournemouth University's Cyber Security Unit Team.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Urquhart-Dykes & Lord, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Crystal IT Services Ltd, Zen Research Solutions Ltd, Next Generation Data Ltd, Net Consulting Ltd, Arcanum Information Security Ltd, Datatek Secure Solutions Ltd, Crimzn Creative, Teamwork Technology Services Ltd and independent consultants Meirion Morgan and Nic de Feu.
17th February 2015
The February meeting of the Cluster was held at the Digital Cardiff Showcase. The Digital Cardiff team sits within the Economic Development Service Area of Cardiff Council based in County Hall and their state of the art meeting room and conferencing facilities, which are free to use for small and medium businesses, is expertly managed by Technical Co-ordinator Jamie Harris.
The meeting was attended by Neil Sandford, Business Development Manager for ICT Inward Investment at Welsh Government and Wayne James, Cyber Lead at the ICT Exploitation Unit at Welsh Government. In addition, Stuart Lewis, Head of Cyber Security for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering & Science at the University of South Wales also attended.
The guest speaker was Andy Williams, who leads techUK's successful Cyber Connect project and has just been announced as the UK's first Cyber Envoy to help UK companies break into the US market. Cyber Connect is a government funded project, run by techUK, which offers support to small and start up cyber security companies through 10 key initiatives such as business acceleration workshops, export activities and access to major industry events in the UK and overseas. Andy spoke about his mapping audit of the UK cyber security industry aimed at help government and business identify capability and increase collaboration between industry, government and academia.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Astrix Integrated Systems Ltd, Ascema Data Protection, Alert Logic UK Ltd, ITSUS Consulting and Object Matrix Ltd.
Current members present were cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Crystal IT Services Ltd, DQS UK Ltd, Zen Research Solutions Ltd, UK Business Connections, Computer People, Next Generation Data Ltd, Accelero Digital Solutions Ltd, Net Consulting Ltd and independent consultants Meirion Morgan and Nic de Feu.
20th January 2015
The January meeting of the Cluster was held at the Digital Cardiff Showcase. The Digital Cardiff team sits within the Economic Development Service Area of Cardiff Council based in County Hall and their state of the art meeting room and conferencing facilities, which are free to use for small and medium businesses, is expertly managed by Technical Co-ordinator Jamie Harris.
The guest speakers were Tim McGarr MBA, Marketing Development Manager (ICT & Asset Management), Governance & Resilience from BSI who is responsible for developing the ICT standards areas (inc. Cyber Security). He spoke about what BSI are doing in this area (primarily around the ISO/IEC 27000 series) and how to get involved in standards development. Next, Nicholas de Figueiredo, Solicitor at Capital Law LLP who's talk was titled “Lock up your valuables – cyber security & the law” spoke about the legal framework and implications for the protection of confidential, private or commercially sensitive information.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including CGI Group Inc, Arcanum Information Security Ltd, Datatek Secure Solutions Ltd, Zen Research Solutions Ltd, UK Business Connections, Computer People, Next Generation Data Ltd, Acorn Group, Working Word Ltd, Teamwork Technology Services Ltd and Accelero Digital Solutions Ltd. In addition, new consultants attending were Nic du Feu, a marketing consultant specialising in technology propositions and Roger Hiscott, a Board Member and MC of Digital Tuesday.
Current members present were leading patent attorneys firm Urquhart-Dykes & Lord and cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Skybrid, Westgate Cyber Security Ltd, Advatek Ltd, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Crystal IT Services Ltd, PGI Group, DQS UK and independent consultant Meirion Morgan.
In addition, Brian Carroll from Crimzn Creative was filming footage and interviews with the members for a Welsh Government promotional video being produced to showcase groups in Wales who are proactively supporting the battle against eCrime.
16th December 2014
With Christmas is approaching, we opted for a purely social event for the December meeting of the Cluster. There were no speakers, presentations or formal agenda, just a friendly gathering at Bar 33 Windsor Place, Cardiff.
The Bar very kindly agreed to rope off their conservatory for us but as it turned out everyone seemed happy to stand and sit nearer to the bar itself. With the coffee and/or drinks flowing, everyone made the most of the opportunity to network and socialise with others who share an interest and involvement in cyber security.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including DQS UK Ltd and Crimzn Creative.
Current members present were leading patent attorneys firm Urquhart-Dykes & Lord and cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Advatek Ltd, Capital Network Solutions, Wolfberry IT Security Specialists, Crystal IT, PGI Group Ltd and independent consultant Meirion Morgan.
18th November 2014
The November meeting of the Cluster was held at the offices of Pervade Software Ltd in Cardiff.
The guest speakers were Tony Neate, Chief Executive or Get Safe Online who presented an overview of the initiative and answered questions about how it applies to members and their organisations. Next, Brian Lightowler, Managing Director of QG Business Solutions Ltd and a member of the North West Cyber Security Cluster spoke about Cyber Essentials, how it applies to the cluster and how it can instil trust amongst members. Then, Helen Benjamin, Tender Advisor from Business Wales presented an overview of Sell2Wales eTendering support and gave details of a tender opportunity for a framework agreement for the supply of IT Security Assurance being announced by the National Procurement Service and invited members to a Meet the Buyer session organised by Business Wales.
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Crystal IT, PGI Ltd (Protection Group International), Silcox Information Security Ltd and Prudential. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Welsh Government’s Cyber Teams and the South Wales Constabulary Cyber Crime Unit. Current members present were leading patent attorneys firm Urquhart-Dykes & Lord and cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Skybrid, Capital Network Solutions and Wolfberry IT Security Specialists.
In addition to having a speaker who is a member of the North West Cyber Security Cluster, we also had two visitors from the new Bath and Area Cyber Security Cluster. Georgina Pendrey and her colleague Yvette from Computer Network Defence Ltd are planning the first meeting in Bath on Thursday 18th December.
21st October 2014
The October meeting of the Cluster was held at The Business Loft in Newport, one of three University of South Wales Co-working Business Centres, open to students, graduates and local Businesses run by Business Incubator Manager and Entrepreneur, Chrissie Webber.
The guest speaker was James Mason, Key Account Manager from QinetiQ who gave a terrific presentation on the rather unique and very successful “pen testing with a difference” service which engages a talented team of specialists testing physical as well as IT security in a single challenging engagement involving penetrating buildings and information systems - what a great job!
The meeting attracted some new attendees including Wolfberry IT Security Specialists and iSecure Consulting Ltd. Current members present were leading patent attorneys firm Urquhart-Dykes & Lord and cyber security focussed businesses Pervade Software, Advatek Ltd and Capital Network Solutions Ltd.
10th September 2014
Having skipped August (holiday season), the second meeting of the Cluster included presentations from Ben Race, Sales Manager from Infosecurity Group (InfoSec) who provided incredibly insightful advice on how to get the most out of an exhibition like InfoSec Europe, including cost effective routes in with partners etc., and how to get the most out of advertising and sourcing new leads without spending a fortune. Also, Eleanor Dallaway, Editor of Infosecurity Magazine presented some guideance on current areas of focus in the industry and gave some great advice on how companies can get noticed by the press and stand out from the crowd.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Welsh Government’s Cyber Teams and the South Wales Constabulary Cyber Crime Unit. New attendees included Advatek Ltd, Constant Systems Ltd, Capital Network Solutions Ltd and LineOn UK. Current members present were cyber security businesses Pervade Software and Westgate Cyber Security as well as independent cyber security specialist consultant Meirion Morgan.
16th July 2014
The first meeting of this new Welsh Cluster was opened by Dr Emma Philpott from the UK Cyber Security Forum who formally welcomed the new Cluster and spoke about some success stories of collaborative working in the original Malvern Group. The inaugural guest speaker was Professor Andrew Blyth from the University of South Wales who gave a very entertaining in-depth briefing on some of the forensics and vulnerability projects he has run for the police, GCHQ, government and private bodies in the university’s multi-million pound security lab environment.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Welsh Government’s Cyber Teams and the South Wales Constabulary Cyber Crime Unit. A number of prominent security companies attended such as Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP, Pervade Software, Westgate Cyber Security and Skybrid. Some independent cyber security specialist consultants were there, including Meirion Morgan and Jeremy Creasey as well as Thomas Carroll Group Plc who are creating cyber insurance cover.