by Evangelos Markatos (ICS-FORTH), Egidija Veršinskienė and Evaldas Bružė (L3CE)

Having exceeded the size of 75 Billion USD in 2015, the worldwide size of the cybersecurity market is expected to reach 170 USD in 2020 increasing rapidly year after year [1]. This market is fueled mainly by cybercrime [2] which has recently reached a cost of 445 billion USD  [3]. If left unchecked, cybercrime will have devastating consequences for the development and deployment of our digital society.

To address this issue, in recent years we have witnessed the creation of several national centres of excellence (CoEs) in the area of cybercrime all over Europe. Although some of the CoEs’ have made significant achievements, which have been praised in public media as well as within the scientific community, most of the centres have been operating largely in isolation from each other, pursuing different goals, and this has frequently resulted in duplication of effort.

To overcome this fragmentation of resources, SENTER pulled the national centres of excellence together and created a network of the centres of excellence in the area of cybercrime research, training, and education.  Having (i) a close relationship with the national law enforcement agencies, (ii) vast experience in developing training courses related to cybersecurity and cybercrime, and (iii) access to high quality R&D infrastructures, the network is in the best position to provide new training methods/techniques and expertise.

The key objectives of SENTER are:

  • to create a single point of reference for the European Commission in the area of cybercrime;
  • to provide a sustainable international cross-organisational partnership by establishing an international collaboration model;
  • to establish interest groups, which will optimise the efforts of existing national centres and avoid fragmentation and duplication of work;
  • to create a community of the national centres in the area of cybercrime research training and education, a community that will set its objectives, its common activities, its common goals;
  • to facilitate the transfer and adoption of best practices from leading countries to other countries in order to minimise the competence gaps;
  • to increase awareness at an international level of the newest scientific and educational achievements in the selected domains (computer forensics, network forensics, mobile forensics, etc) and to speed up the process of scientific achievement productisation and time-to end-user usage;
  • to establish a collection of best practices and lessons learned from all CoE projects that can be reused in future CoE national and international projects, and introduce better value/costs of new centre establishment;
  • to define and pilot a business model that could be used in resource-limited member states and EU regions;
  • to pilot the joint development of training programs and common international trainer groups for the selected competence areas;
  • to establish cross continental/regional (USA, Latin, Asia, Africa, Australia) partnerships with other networks of similar nature;
  • to create a long term partnership and collaboration model with related EU agencies.

Having mobilised the European cybercrime centres of excellence, SENTER is by definition a project with a wide European base and with ambitious European goals. From Greece to Lithuania and from Spain to Poland, national centres of excellence in cybercrime will join their activities in order to collectively improve their work: by reducing fragmentation, by avoiding duplication, by sharing experience, and  by sharing resources. The collaborating centres will align their agendas, will expose and elaborate on their areas of expertise, will create a common portal, a common identity, and above all, a joint community: a community with a clear European identity so that individual centres break through the barriers of their member states to benefit from and have impact on the wider European family. The network will create joint internet groups in a few highly-focused and carefully-selected areas: network forensics, computer forensics, open source intelligence. Within these groups member states will be able to collaborate, exchange ideas, plan common activities, exchange staff and test prototypes. In this way the network will be much more than the sum of its parts: it will create expertise which would not have been created otherwise.

The network, however, will not cater only to its current members. To spread the impact to other member states, the network will establish best practices - guides for new centres of excellence being planned in countries that do not yet have such a centre, but would like to create one, and could benefit from previous experiences. The network will create the pathways that enable the expertise to roll from one member state to another and eventually to all the rest of the member states across Europe. 

SENTER is a joint effort of the Mykolas Romeris University, the  Lithuanian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research and Education (L3CE), the Ekonomines konsulatcijos ir tyrimai (EKT), the Masaryk University (MU), the Howest University, the French Cybercrime Centre of Excellence (CECyF), the Tallinn University of Technology (TTU), the University of Applied Science Albstadt-Sigmaringen (UASAS), the International Cyber Investigation Training Academy (ICI), the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH), the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), and the  States of Jersey Police.

This work is co-funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

SENTER may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and may be followed on twitter @senterproject.

References:
[1] Steve Morgan: “Cybersecurity Market Reaches $75 Billion In 2015; Expected To Reach $170 Billion By 2020”, Forbes/Tech Dec 20, 2015.
[2] Wall, David: “Cybercrime: The transformation of crime in the information age”, Vol. 4. Polity, 2007.
[3] Canadian Underwriter: “Global annual tab for cyber crime US$445 billion, cyber insurance market forecast to grow to US$20 billion-plus by 2025: AGCS”, September 9 2015,  http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/global-annual-tab-for-cyber-crime-us-445-billion-cyber-insurance-market-forecast-to-grow-to-us-20-1003793978/

Please contact:
Egidija Veršinskienė, Evaldas Bružė
Lithuanian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research, Development and Education (L3CE)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Evangelos Markatos
FORTH-ICS, Greece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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