1st Cyber Security Workshop on “CYBER CAPABILITIES AND THEIR FUTURE USE: CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIC OUTLOOK” 04 - 06 December 2019, Ankara

The 1st Cyber Security Workshop on “Cyber Capabilities and Their Future Use: Challenges and Strategic Outlook” took place from 04th - 06th December 2019 in Ankara.


It was the first workshop jointly organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Turkey Office (KAS) and the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Study (EDAM) which dealt with topics like AI (artificial intelligence), the future of warfare, cyber security and critical infrastructure as well as economic opportunities.

In the first panel entitled “Future Applications and Artificial Intelligence – Future of Warfare”, the panelist argued that cyber warfare became the fifth dimension of warfare. Cyber technologies do not only add another dimension to how wars are fought but also an additional layer above all other dimensions – land, sea, air and space. In future the rise of autonomous weapons will change the battlefield as humans will be seconded or substituted by autonomous machines. In developed and several developing countries, next-generation warfare enters curriculums of military and strategic studies.

There are also new geopolitics of cyber, AI and robots. It is shaped by computer powers, data, and infrastructure. Great powers such as the United States and China are dominating both the innovation and utilization sides of technology. This creates challenges for middle-sized powers such as the European Union, India, South Korea, Turkey or Japan which are also racing to own the future through technology development.  They have to force themselves in-between the two tech giants, USA and China.

The understanding of manpower is changing, too. Small but capable populations (i.e. Estonia, Israel, Singapore) can also be dominant powers in the age of cyber. With the proliferation of AI -especially in strategic planning- equation can be changed. Traditionally, wars used to consist in state to state conflict. Yet, we are witnessing a time of non-linear warfare.

The second panel was on: “Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure”. Cyber-attacks are also a fundamental threat to the financial sector and doing business in the banking and financial sectors is all about reputation. If for any reason an institution loses its reputation, then it will also lose its costumers. Cyber criminality is very efficient because knowledge is shared on blogs and chat groups internationally. Criminals learn lessons from past attacks, share experiences and usually work in groups.  There are a lot of challenges in countering cyber-attacks as it is very hard to outpace hackers. They learn fast and do not stop looking for a breach. Sanctions on this field are still very low and traditional companies sometimes are not fast enough. Manpower in IT departments is usually not enough to secure the entire ecosystem. Big companies have more possibilities and budgets but smaller ones do not.

The third panel discussed the topic: “AI, Cyber Security and Economic Opportunities”. The participants discussed the main problem regarding new technologies: they arise before the necessary security mechanisms exist to protect them. Currently, there is a transformation of the internet: web — mobile — cloud —each of them brings its own cyber security issues. What is missing are the ecosystems. Entrepreneurs do not interact with each other enough and there is little investment. Another problem is that they only think local and this issue is not restricted to one country with focus on their internal market. Critical mass is also missing to create a cybersecurity ecosystem that will enable global cybersecurity companies. Governments want local data centers and sovereignty over their data. They do not want their centers to be part of the global network.

At the end of the workshop the organizers thanked the speakers and participants for their valuable contributions at the 1st Cyber Security Workshop in Ankara and agreed on having another one at the end of 2020.

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