Welcome Address and Keynotes Session

Tech Behind the Horizon

This closing session of Technology track will briefly review tech track highlights, but mostly focuses on the future. Distinguished panelists will provide industry, research and military viewpoints on emerging tech issues for CyCon 2025 and beyond.  

Cyber Defence and Strategic Competition: Adjusting to Unpeace

With the advent of approaches such as persistent engagement, cyberspace has become a theatre of sub-threshold activity. This panel discusses the consequences of constant tension in cyberspace and what it means for civilian-military cooperation, legislative frameworks, and striking the right balance between national security and individual civil liberties.

Safeguarding Against Data Misuses in Modern Conflicts (Law)

Cyber operations can leverage various techniques to deliver effects, that could involve the use of personal data, the influencing of individuals’ perceptions and attitudes, or potentially both. The availability of personal data collected in military cyber operations can be exploited to intimidate adversaries, undermine their morale, spread disinformation, etc.,. It can also be used to manipulate or even cause harm to civilians. Arguably, such uses of personal data cannot be unrestricted, even in the context of modern conflicts. Against this background, this panel will focus on the legal framework for military psychological operations in cyberspace and data protection in times of armed conflict.

Security from the Field (Tech)

This session is dedicated to contributions from practitioners in the cyber security industry. Industry experts will share their experience on the topics of hacktivism, the use of cyber crime resources for national goals, and harnessing natural language processing for intelligence analysis.

Capacity Building: Cyber Security of Ports and Maritime Transport (Strat)

Robust port and maritime cybersecurity is essential for national and international security, military readiness, and efficient supply chains. During this session, the EU CyberNet will share experiences from research carried out in cooperation with the CRIMSON project on maritime cybersecurity in African ports and with other EU-funded projects on port security in Latin America. The session describes deficiencies identified in the cybersecurity of ports and the root causes of these deficiencies, which arise from the specific nature of their infrastructure. The experts participating in the panel will share their perspectives on port infrastructure from the points of view of port operators, state supervision, development aid providers, and military planning. The session also introduces the lessons learned from large-scale training organised for West African ports.

Keeping Peace in Outer Space (Law)

Outer space is an area of growing economic and technological importance. It is also a developing theatre of military activity and warfare, which includes the proliferation of counterspace, or antisatellite, capabilities. Against this backdrop, the development of a legal framework for military activities in outer space is of critical urgency. The panel will discuss the principal developments in the relevant areas of international law, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the current legal framework.

Tech Across the Horizon (Tech)

his session will present selected topics on cyber security – from implementing post-quantum cryptography in national infrastructure to cyber security as it pertains to unmanned marine vessels.

Future Foresight: Visions of Cyberspace, Methodologies, and Applications (Strat)

Niels Bohr said that ‘Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future’. Nevertheless, we all need to plan for the future. Strategic forecasting and foresight can help policy planners better define the significant and likelihood of future risks and opportunities and offer better responses to them. This panel discusses how strategic forecasting and foresight can be applied to the future of cyber conflict, as well as innovative methods of how to do that.

State of Play of Collective Countermeasures after Russian Aggression Towards Ukraine (Law)

In May 2019, during CyCon, the Estonian president described the Estonian view on cyber collective countermeasures. Since then, reflecting their unsettled status in customary international law, collective countermeasures have been a subject of increasing discussion. Support for collective countermeasures, particularly in the cyber domain, may be justified in the light of their increasing use during the last twenty years, stemming, among other things, from States’ reactions to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Network Security from PAN to WAN (Tech)

Network security is the backbone of any complex application and the focus of this session. The session covers topics ranging from Personal Area Networks (PANs) to Wide Area Networks (WANs), covering for the latter, consumer device Bluetooth, secure use of 5G, and securing WANs over public ISPs.

Coalitions of the Willing: Civilian and Military Mechanisms Supporting Ukraine (Strat)

The outbreak of the Ukraine-Russia war in 2022 led to an outpouring of support from governments and industry. Time was of the essence, and overcoming institutional inertia and coordination between donors and recipients was key to ensuring expediency of delivery. This panel discusses how governments spearheaded initiatives such as the Tallinn Mechanism and the IT Coalition for civil and military assistance, the lessons learned from these initiatives, and how these lessons can prepare us for the next crisis response situation.

Applied Artificial Intelligence (Tech)

This session is dedicated to artificial intelligence, principally applications of machine learning and AI methods for solving cyber security problems. Topics include defeating and improving network flow classifiers, firmware vulnerability detection, and risk management methodology for AI systems.

Emerging Technologies in International Law: Discussing the Impact of AI and Autonomous Weapons (Law)

The rapid evolution of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous weapons is reshaping international law. The ongoing integration of AI into weapons systems has the potential to significantly impact decision-making and command responsibility in military operations. This panel will focus on the implications of technological advances across a range of international law disciplines.

Closing Remarks and CyCon 2025 Announcement

Compute to Compete: Cloud, AI, and Strategic Competition over Digital Infrastructure 

There is little about the current era of strategic competition that does not tie back, in some way, to the digital infrastructure powering nations and multi-national companies. Be it the planetary scale cloud computing or the emerging bubble of AI services, everything from modern banking to contemporary weapon systems rely heavily on backbone digital infrastructure. The competition for access, control over, and restriction of that infrastructure is carving battle lines even amidst close allies and partners. Within this landscape, access to technologies such as sophisticated semiconductors, AI-enabled large-scale data processing, and cloud computing infrastructure creates both economic and strategic advantages for states and companies.

Computing power will only become more central to core public and national security functions. Thus, states have increasingly sought to respond to this competition over computing power through statecraft, building their own capacity through investing in onshoring (or friend-shoring) key technology manufacturing processes, supporting the development of domestic cloud computing businesses, and allocating government resources to accelerate AI development while seeking to restrict those same resources to others.

This session seeks to update the vital conversation about computing power as a strategic resource.

Cyber Commanders’ Panel

Every year, over 30 national cyber commanders from allied and partner nations meet in Tallinn to exchange ideas and discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in building national cyber defence. This session will allow the CyCon audience to meet some of the cyber commanders in a public follow-up to the closed meeting and hear a first-hand account of some of the pressing issues in cyber defence.

Opening Remarks

MS Threat Intel Briefing for Attendees from NATO/EU/CCDCOE Member Countries (this session is for government officials and state employees, including members of the armed forces)

Civil/Military Cooperation in Cyberspace – How to Take It to the Next Level?

Cyber threats are more and more frequent, sophisticated and destructive. Any organization strives to protect as a priority its own networks and infrastructure against cyber threats. However, cyberspace has the characteristic of being interconnected across geographical and organization boundaries with a level of interdependencies not typically present in other domains. In this context, military institutions rely on a number of networks, systems and information provided by national and commercial stakeholders, beyond traditional Command & Control (C2). At the same time, civilian actors and stakeholders need increased protection and defence. Fostering civilian-military collaboration in cyberspace is therefore essential to improve cyber security and resilience, provide comprehensive situational awareness and support decision making at the time of relevance. In this session, challenges around civilian-military collaboration in cyberspace will be discussed with a view to identifying solutions to strengthen interactions between organizations (such as NATO), nations, industry and academia.

Peering Past NATO’s Precinct

From its very founding, NATO’s geographical boundaries have resulted in the Alliance being Euro-centric. The realities of an inter-connected society require engaging with partners around the globe outside this narrow scope, as well as assessing challenges beyond the initial vision of the Washington Treaty. How will NATO face an increasingly non-unipolar world in order to tackle and mitigate crisis and conflict?