Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence (B-CCENTRE) Successfully Achieves Objectives; Investigates How to Fuel New Cybersecurity Initiatives

Leuven – 2 February 2015. The Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research & Education (B-CCENTRE), coordinated by experts of iMinds - ICRI - KU Leuven, has successfully achieved its project objectives. Over the last four years, B-CCENTRE has put the cybersecurity topic on the Belgian political agenda, and has brought all stakeholders (government officials, companies & academia) around the table to exchange knowledge and expertise. B-CCENTRE also invested a great deal of effort in training and awareness creation – resulting in training modules for the Belgian police forces and magistrates, a campaign with Child Focus for primary school children and supporting material for companies and other organizations.
As the project ends, B-CCENTRE is investigating how its expertise can be leveraged to kick-start new cybersecurity initiatives – such as the Belgian Cyber Security Coalition and the iMinds TRU-BLISS project with the banking sector.

An EU project, the “Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research and Education” (B-CCENTRE) was officially launched in 2011 – part of a European network of cybercrime centers to co-ordinate and collaborate on cybercrime matters.  

Kicking off the fight against cyber criminality in Belgium, one of B-CCENTRE’s initial focus areas was to rally the various stakeholders (government officials, companies and academia), have them exchange insights, and provide them with in-depth research and training on the various dimensions of the cybercrime topic. But B-CCENTRE went much further than that. 

One of Europe’s leading cybercrime centers

The Belgian cybercrime center was the third one to be launched in Europe, following similar initiatives in France and Ireland. But as more countries got their center deployed, B-CCENTRE quickly started to lead the pack in a number of ways:  
  • Research-wise, B-CCENTRE became a leading knowledge center in a range of technical and techno-legal topics – such as the use of the IPv6 communication protocol to provide an identification and location system for computers on the Internet, or the use of special online investigation methods.  
  • B-CCENTRE distinguished itself from its peers thanks to the extent of its research and training efforts: whereas some centers focused on investigating one specific cybercrime dimension, B-CCENTRE covered the technological, criminological as well as the legal aspects; B-CCENTRE also showed its value from an educational perspective, reaching a very broad audience (from primary school children to university students and professionals). 
  • The Belgian center was also one of the bigger ones; it was active over a longer period of time and resulted in more tangible outcomes. Examples include its co-authoring and dissemination role within the Belgian Cyber Security Guide initiative, and the creation of its website – which includes a complete inventory of all Belgian knowledge on cybersecurity. 

Kick-starting a new range of anti-cybercrime initiatives 

Even though the B-CCENTRE project has come to a close, its insights are already being leveraged in a number of follow-up initiatives:

  • The creation of the Belgian Cyber Security Coalition – which continues B-CCENTRE’s efforts to bring together public authorities, the academic world and the business sector in the fight against cybercrime. Not surprisingly, B-CCENTRE is one of the Coalition’s “founding fathers”.
  • iMinds’ “TRU-BLISS” project that aims at better protecting banks against cybercrime. TRU-BLISS builds on the technical, procedural and legal knowledge that has been acquired by B-CCENTRE, and is conducted in collaboration with the four biggest banks in Belgium.
  • A four-year BRAIN-be study (exploring the Belgian government’s key strategies) to investigate the cost and impact of cybercrime in Belgium, under the banner of BELSPO (Belgium’s Science Policy Public Planning Service).

“The fight against cybercrime is incredibly important – and will continue to be so as we spend more and more time online,” says Ann Mennens from iMinds - ICRI - KU Leuven, manager of the B-CCENTRE project. “B-CCENTRE has been fundamental in initiating a coordinated approach against cybercrime in Belgium – and we feel that we still have a role to play in this. Through our ongoing involvement in initiatives such as the Cyber Security Coalition and various research projects and knowledge transfer activities, we can make sure that the results of our effort do not get lost.” 

On 3 February, B-CCENTRE’s research results are presented during a workshop in Leuven. Interested in learning more about the cybersecurity topic? Hear world-leading experts talking about “Cyber Security And Forensic Readiness” at the ICSS2015 Conference (Leuven, February 4-5). More info: https://www.icss2015.eu/

About B-CCENTRE

The B-CCENTRE (Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training, Research and Education) is Belgium’s central coordination, collaboration and knowledge sharing platform in the fight against cybercrime. Bundling the expertise & forces of several academic research groups, public sector bodies and businesses in Belgium and beyond, the B-CCENTRE conducts inter-disciplinary research on specific cybercrime, cybersecurity & cyberforensics-related topics. It coordinates the development and teaching of basic and advanced trainings for actors involved in the fight against cybercrime and organizes seminars, conferences and awareness-raising initiatives for different target audiences. B-CCENTRE is the Belgian node in the European network of Cybercrime Centres of Excellence and collaborates with the main European and international organizations dealing with cybercrime. More information is available on www.b-ccentre.be (Twitter: @BCCENTRE).

About iMinds 

iMinds – the digital research center of Flanders, Belgium – combines the strength of its 850+ researchers at five Flemish universities to conduct strategic and applied research in areas such as ICT, Media and Health. Together with its research partners (companies, governments and non-profit organizations), iMinds translates digital know-how into concrete products and services. In addition, iMinds supports researchers, young entrepreneurs and start-ups in the successful market introduction of their ideas. More info at www.iminds.be (Twitter: @iMinds). 

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