Press Release: Cyber Security Coalition

Press release

October 20th 2014

A unique coalition of public authorities, the academic world and the business sector joining forces against cybercrime


Belgian partners from the three sectors are today launching a unique coalition in the fight against cybercrime. It is initially bringing together more than 50 key players to share knowledge, raise awareness among citizens and businesses and issue recommendations for a more efficient policy.

In Belgium, hundreds of thousands of computers become infected every year. The cost of cybercrime is estimated at EUR 3.5 billion, which is more than 1% of the GDP. Yet the fight against cybercrime is being conducted in a highly fragmented way. Despite many well-meant initiatives, everyone is currently still waging their own war against it. However, progress in this field can only be made if all parties involved work together: the companies, the academic world and the public authorities.

Today, Proximus, VBO-FEB, CERT.be, B-CCENTRE and Solvay Brussels School are establishing the Cyber Security Coalition. The coalition will initially bring together more than 50 key players from the academic world, the business sector and the public authorities to share knowledge and experiences and jointly obtain an overall picture of the cybersecurity landscape.

The focus of this coalition will be on cross-pollination and knowledge sharing, raising awareness among citizens and companies and issuing recommendations for a more efficient policy. Such a concentration of forces from the business sector, the academic world and the public authorities will give new impetus to the digital economy and put Belgium on the map as a cybersecurity-aware country.

Telling figures

Between January and June 2014, CERT.be received reports of more than 751,000 cases of infected computers in Belgium. During that semester, the team received an average of 614 incident reports per month, this is 80% higher than in 2013. Moreover, a recent survey of the VOB-FEB shows that 66% of the companies questioned do not have a clear overall view of what a good, efficient approach to cyber security involves. 75% feel unclear about the regulations and the competent authorities.

Focus on knowledge exchange, awareness-raising and policy advice
In the short term, the coalition aims to make significant progress on three fronts:

  • Knowledge exchange

    Cybersecurity extends from technology to legislation, from experts to regular employees, from daily incidents to sophisticated intrusions and cyber espionage. Cybersecurity requires a 360-degree approach, and cross-sector exchanges are crucial for that. In collaboration with the academic partners, the coalition will organize six working sessions in 2015. During the first sessions, all participants will receive and overview of the Belgian cybsersecurity landscape (the competent authorities, law …). Furthermore they will concentrate on the problems related to Cyber Security Governance, Methods for Risk Management and Threat Management. Each working session will result in a report in which the coalition will draw up a status quaestionis on each topic, outline the main challenges and issue a number of specific recommendations to the academic world, the business sector and to the public authorities.


  • Awareness raising

    The coalition will set up specific awareness-raising initiatives and national campaigns.
    The members of the coalition have each individually already invested a great deal in awareness-raising campaigns. They want to share this experience with other companies, organizations and the public at large. Every year an open interactive session will be held in which the coalition members will share the main findings and achievements with the general public.


  • Policy advice

    The coalition will map out the biggest difficulties, weaknesses and challenges and elaborate a series of specific recommendations and solutions, both for the public authorities and for the private and academic sector. The coalition is taking this initiative because of the prevailing urgency, because there is a great need for a coherent approach and because the risks are increasing at a fast pace. It of course remains the public authorities’ task to subsequently establish an efficient policy and implement the necessary measures promptly.
  • "Cybercrime is one of the main challenges, not just for companies and organizations, but the general public too. We are convinced that this coalition can be the driver necessary for the development of measures to improve prevention, detection and the way in which cyber incidents are dealt with. Knowledge sharing, and especially collaboration across all sectors and company boundaries, can only help us and arm us better as a society against cybercrime," say the coalition initiators.


    The B-CCENTRE (Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research and Education) is Belgium’s central coordination, collaboration and knowledge sharing platform in the fight against cybercrime. Bundling the expertise & forces of several academic research groups, public sector bodies and businesses in Belgium and beyond, the B-CCENTRE conducts inter-disciplinary research on specific cybercrime, cybersecurity & cyberforensics-related topics. It coordinates the development and teaching of basic and advanced trainings for actors involved in the fight against cybercrime and organizes seminars, conferences and awareness-raising initiatives for different target audiences. B-CCENTRE is the Belgian node in the European network of Cybercrime Centres of Excellence and collaborates with the main European and international organizations dealing with cybercrime.

    More information is available on www.b-ccentre.be


    Belgacom, with Proximus as its commercial main trademark, is a telecommunication company active on the Belgian and international market. The quality of its fixed and mobile networks makes Belgacom the main provider of telephony, Internet, television and ICT services in Belgium. Belgacom considers it to be its role to make the connected world accessible to everyone. In that regard it also calls for a digital world that is safe and offers new possibilities to Belgian industry and society.

    More information is available on www.belgacom.com


    CERT.be is the Federal Cyber Emergency Team, operated by Belnet, the Belgian national research network, which is commissioned by Fedict. CERT.be operates within a worldwide network of cyber security experts and deals with security problems on the Internet by means of coordination, dissemination of information and awareness-raising. ICT professionals can turn to CERT.be free of charge and in full confidentiality to report cyber incidents (hacking of data and network infrastructure, phishing, cyber-attacks, etc.). CERT.be gives advice to deal with the incident as quickly as possible and coordinates with all the companies or organizations involved. CERT.be also provides advice to citizens and companies on how to use the Internet safely.

    More information is available on www.cert.be and www.safeonweb.be


    The mission of Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management is to strive to meet the most pressing economic and business challenges of our time with a unique blend of scientific rigor, contextual engagement and problem-solving skills. This strengthens our position as a European reference for international students, practitioners and academics. We are the School of Economics and Management of the Université libre de Bruxelles, with a century-old tradition of excellence in higher education. Our mission is to have a decisive and positive impact on how economic and business challenges are addressed. We fulfill this mission by producing pioneering research and by educating women and men to become true leaders and entrepreneurs in their field. Executive Education groups a wide-ranging, ever-evolving portfolio of postgraduate courses and classes aimed at junior to Senior managers. Starting from January 2015, an executive program in Cybersecurity will be lectured on evening classes. Hundreds of Belgian Information Security Professionals attended our classes since Executive education in Information Security was launched in 2003.

    More information is available on www.solvay.edu/it


    The VBO-FEB (the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium) is the largest employers' organization of Belgium and works to create a healthy economy. As the only umbrella employers' organization, the VBO-FEB represents more than 50,000 companies from the three regions of Belgium, accounting for over 75% of employment in the private sector.
    Together with the main sector federations – our members – we defend the interests of all those companies in about 150 federal, European and international bodies. Our primary aim is to unanimously strive for a healthy business and investment environment, built on values such as social market economy, sustainable development, business ethics, corporate governance, consultation and self-regulation.

    More information is available on www.vbo-feb.be