Rethinking cybersecurity in the digital transformation age


The shift to a highly connected and digitised world brings not only new opportunities, but also new cybersecurity challenges. Today the cyber threat landscape is constantly changing and evolving. In order to secure our digital economy and society we all need to advance our cybersecurity competencies and adopt a lifelong learning approach. Especially, policy makers and technology players need to be well informed about cybersecurity. In this vein, the CONNECT university kicked off its 2019 thematic summer school programme dedicated to cybersecurity with the session “Rethinking cybersecurity in the digital transformation age”. Through this introductory session participants had the chance to get a good understanding of the emerging cybersecurity threats and solutions.  The session covered topics such as innovative cryptography to strengthen cybersecurity, and took a look at ways to enhance the cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and applications. In addition, the speakers provided a good overview of the existing and upcoming initiatives of the European Commission for an innovative and more secure cyberspace.

Moderator: Despina Spanou, Director for Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Despina Spanou is leading since 2017 the European Commission team responsible for the EU's policies and research activities in cybersecurity, digital privacy, eHealth, smart mobility, smart cities and egovernment. She is a member of the management board of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, ENISA and the Steering board of CERT EU.

Previously she was Director for Consumer Affairs at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers. Mrs. Spanou has also served as Principal Adviser in the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioners for Health and Consumers, Mr. Kyprianou, and, Mrs. Vassiliou. 

Despina Spanou started her career at the European Commission at the Directorate General for Competition in 2003. Before joining the European Commission she was practising law for a US law firm. She is a qualified lawyer and holds a Ph.D. in European law from the University of Cambridge.


  • Roberto Viola, Director General DG CONNECT 

Roberto Viola is Director General of DG CONNECT (Directorate General of Communication, Networks, Content and Technology) at the European Commission. He was the Deputy Director-General of DG CONNECT, European Commission from 2012 to 2015. Roberto Viola served as Chairman of the European Radio Spectrum Policy group (RSPG) from 2012 to 2013, as Deputy Chairman in 2011 and Chairman in 2010. He was a member of the BEREC Board (Body of European Telecom Regulators), and Chairman of the European Regulatory Group (ERG). He held the position of Secretary General in charge of managing AGCOM, from 2005 to 2012. Prior to this, he served as Director of the Regulation Department and Technical Director in AGCOM from 1999 to 2004. From 1985-1999 he served in various positions including Head of Telecommunication and Broadcasting Satellite Services at the European Space Agency (ESA). Roberto Viola holds a Doctorate in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

  • Angelos D. Keromytis, Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar

Title of the presentation: Understanding and Defending IoT Devices

Professor  Keromytis came to Georgia Tech from DARPA, where he served as Program Manager in the Information Innovation Office, and NSF, where he served at Program Director for the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program. For his work, he received the DAPRA Superior Public Service Medal. Prior to DARPA and NSF, he was a faculty member at Columbia University. Dr. Keromytis is an elected Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE.

  • Vincent Rijmen, Professor, KU Leuven, Belgium 

Title of the presentation: A policy-maker's guide to cryptography

In 1997 Professor Rijmen finished his PhD at the KU Leuven on the design and analysis of block ciphers. He is co-designer of the block cipher Rijndael, which has become the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in 2001, and has been included in many other standards since. He has been Chief Cryptographer with cryptomathic and Univ.-Professor with Graz University of Technology, Austria. He is currently Professor at KU Leuven at the Department of Electrical Engineering and IACR Fellow for co-designing AES.