NCSC One Conference 2014

Speech by the Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, at the opening of the NCSC One Conference 2014, World Forum, The Hague, 3 June 2014.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this international conference. It is the second NCSC One conference, but ten were held in the past under other names. So it is already something of a tradition!

It is impressive to see so many cyber security experts here: some eight hundred professionals and policymakers from all around the globe. This shows how important cyber security is to government, business and research.

Researchers set the ball rolling yesterday with the NCSRA symposium. They discussed the progress of cyber security and the results of the research agenda. This conference is intended for a broader audience. We have an attractive and varied programme, covering not only technical issues like malware and detection, but also privacy, governance and digital security.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Cyber security has been developing fast over the past year and a half.

At the last conference we spoke about responsible disclosure. Then, it was still something new, but today the Netherlands is a leader in this field. We will discuss our experience at this meeting. I don’t want to reveal too much, but we’ve had overwhelming success. Several dozen RD reports have been received so far. For each report, an NCSC T-shirt is given away. They are now being worn by many people on different continents. So as you can see: responsible disclosure, too, is a global phenomenon.

Since the last conference, there have been several major incidents. Including a series of DDos attacks on banks and government institutions. Last February we faced what was probably the biggest ever DDoS attack in Europe. And let’s not forget the Pobelka botnet.

Such incidents are a nuisance and not without risk for those affected. But there’s no denying that fighting a common enemy brings out the best in our organisations, both public and private. Our National Cyber Security Centre has clearly demonstrated its value as a networking organisation. Cooperation between public and private partners has made us all stronger. We have learned a lot, gained knowledge and experience, and are better equipped to resist such attacks in the future.

It reminds me of the Netherlands’ struggle against the sea. I don’t want to worry you, but nearly a third of your host country lies below sea level. Flooding has posed a serious challenge for centuries. To protect ourselves, we constructed artificial mounds to live on, built dikes, drained lakes and even reclaimed large areas of land from the sea. Thanks to the Delta Project, we now have the most advanced coastal defences in the world. So you can rest easy tonight …

The Netherlands also wants to play a leading international role in combating cyber attacks. This is clearly set out in our new National Cyber Security Strategy, published last October. It builds on the solid foundations laid by our first strategy, from the summer of 2012. Rapid developments in the cyber domain forced us to adopt a new and tougher strategy. 

The new strategy sets firm goals:
• First, Dutch society must be able to enjoy the full benefits of the digital age safely.
• Second, we want Dutch businesses and researchers to play a leading role in the field of security and privacy by design.
• And last, the Netherlands and its international partners need to form a progressive coalition to protect fundamental rights and values in the digital domain.

We are now working out the details of this strategy. Indeed, this international conference is part of our efforts. Because it is all about networking, sharing knowledge and experience, and cooperation. In short, building an international coalition.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Just over two months ago, fifty-eight world leaders gathered in this same World Forum for the Nuclear Security Summit 2014. The summit had to meet the strictest standards in terms of security – including cyber security. The Office of the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism – which includes the National Cyber Security Centre – played a key role in coordinating security for this mega-event. This security operation was the ultimate in cooperation. As the minister in charge, I am very proud that it was so successful. It enhanced the Netherlands’ global reputation in the field of security, because the whole world was watching.

It is also helping us meet our international ambitions in the field of cyber security. Next year the Netherlands will host the fourth International Cyber Conference. This prestigious event will be attended by dozens of ministers and nearly 2,000 representatives of public and private organisations from a hundred countries. We hope it will lead to further global action to improve cyber security. A system that protects the public against digital attacks, like a smart system of dikes, dams, sluices and other advanced measures protects people against flooding. We cannot let cyber criminals get their hands on crucial information, and attack or even paralyse vital systems and services.

Over the next two days this conference can make a major contribution to this goal. The programme offers an attractive mix of interesting, instructive and highly topical subjects. As leading experts, you are no doubt eager to get started and meet other government and business representatives and researchers. Experience shows that close cooperation between different disciplines is crucial in this field. Together we can find the best solutions – solutions that offer maximum benefits in terms of security, privacy and social development. I look forward to hearing the results of the conference in due course.

I wish you all an exciting, informative and productive meeting, and hereby declare the second NCSC One conference open.

Thank you.