Hungarian cyber expertise, EU strategic aspirations and the security challenges of a more and more digitalized Africa

This year's first international short-term programme of the Cyber Security Research Institute of the Faculty of Public Governance and International Studies has started at the University of Public Service.

The two-week training is organized by the Institute of Cyber Security of the Faculty of Public Governance and International Studies for middle and senior public servants. The program is both well established and innovative. This time, the type of training, which has played a central role in the Institute's professional portfolio for years, has attracted students from an other continent. The lectures, scheduled into two blocks, offer intensive training for professionals of the Nigerian public administration. At first glance, the course appears to be a unique mixture: it is both an advanced course, as most of the participants face cyber security related issues in their work, but at the same time, due to the differences in practice, introductory courses are built into the programme too.

The reason of the duality is that the participants are not certified engineers, their specialty is not IT. All 19 of our honorary students, are employed by the Intelligence Unit of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance. Their work seems most similar to that of the financial inspectors of our country, and the aim of the current training is to provide the necessary skills and knowledge in order to face the challenges such as money laundering, fraud and terrorism and the increasing dangers of cyberspace.

The emphasis of the training and the content of the subjects are adjusted to these circumstances: it is particularly important to present the geopolitical background that determine cyber security; also, the relevant common European defence mechanisms and strategies. While the lectures of the six training days offer a basic overview of the relevant segments and problem areas of cyber security (from the typology of actors that threatens the cyberspace, through the typical and even fashionable attack types to the modern technical methods of defence), the dangers of future are also discussed. Thus, the audience can access the unique and competitive know-how of the Cybersecurity Research Institute, getting an insight into the issues of emergent cyberthreats. Participants hear about artificial intelligence and online security, and even the dangerous intertwining of the two 21st century domains, cyberspace, and outer space.

The concerned training is based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Public Service and the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and can be the first step to further cooperation in many areas. The international scientific and educational cooperation reflects the strategic aspirations of Ludovika - even in a double sense. On the one hand, it obviously fits into the gradual internationalization of the education and the increasing involvement of international students. It is obvious: in this strategic endeavour, the special fields and scientific problem areas, through which Ludovika can offer unique and competitive courses in the international higher education market, can provide the University with a particularly important support. While cyber security and cyber defence have of course been a hit field in higher education programmes around the world for quite some time, the specialization of the Ludovika Cyber Security Institute is considered a novelty in the world. It’s research and teaching philosophy has been based on the realization that cyber security is not an engineering related problem anymore. In the digitalized world, the key to effective defence is socialization, and this is especially true for digitalized public administration. Accordingly, the Institute's focus is on providing cyber security training for future "non-technical" professionals in the public sector. The institute's multi-year international program, CASPA, develops an innovative educational toolkit for that end.

At the same time, Ludovika's choice for building partnerships may have strategic implications in another sense. Indeed, Nigeria is one of the power centres of Africa, a huge continent digitizing rapidly. Thanks to its economy and population, within a few decades it will belong to global key players. It is no coincidence that the continent, and Nigeria within it, is also an important direction in the EU's digital strategic efforts. The current partnership building can thus establish a tight educational cooperation with a future relevant key actor.

Text: Gábor Nyáry, FPGIS Institute of Cyber Security