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#CyberFest is Back

THE North East’s largest cyber festival is returning next month, aimed at promoting and growing the region’s cybersecurity sector.

The third annual #CyberFest is again being organised by regional tech network Dynamo, with support from global professional services company Accenture, and is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund.

Last year #CyberFest hosted six events around the region which were attended by more than 600 people – this year’s free event will be online, allowing more small and medium-sized businesses from the North East to take part.

There are ten events planned during September, starting on the 4th and ending on the 29th. Events will cover a range of cyber-security-related topics and the month will culminate in the unveiling of a specially-commissioned, cyber-related piece of art.

Phil Jackman, Dynamo Cyber Security Lead and one of the organisers of #CyberFest, said: “Cyber security is an existential threat to businesses with many being hacked, disrupted, held to ransom, fined or simply letting their customers down due to lax online security.

“It is not just the big companies that have been targeted. Last year saw a change in the size of companies under threat, with attacks targeted at smaller businesses. According to the Federation of Small Businesses more than 60 per cent of SMEs have been hit in the last year, resulting in substantial recovery costs.

“Meanwhile, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. Most businesses have moved to at least some trading online, with many of their people working remotely from home. With so much to think about in keeping their businesses alive, eyes have been taken off the ball when it comes to cybersecurity. There has been a significant increase in the number of attacks during the pandemic, both attempted and successful.

“So there is plenty to talk about and explore at #CyberFest, which has not been immune to global issues – this year we’re not going to be able to meet physically and instead all the events will be held online.”

Jo McGovern, Accenture’s UK ATC and Tech Regional Operations Lead, said: “Accenture are delighted to be working alongside Dynamo again this year to support #CyberFest 2020. Now more than ever the security of our clients and data is of paramount importance. Developing a robust and collaborative Cyber community here in the North East is key to future business growth and career opportunities for the region.

“Building a thriving hub of awareness and activity around Cyber requires input from all sectors including corporates, SMEs and our academic providers – #CyberFest is the perfect platform to bring all of these strands together.”

This year’s programme is as follows:

· September 4 and 5 – Bsides

Consisting of talks and workshops, BSides Newcastle aims to help build the community of InfoSec in the North East and is aimed at the technical community.

· September 8 (2pm-6pm)- Cyber Security Needs You!

A joint University of Sunderland and Institute of Coding event, this will be a mix of practical and presentations around cyber security. It is aimed at students and people who would like to progress within the cyber industry.

· September 10 (8am – 10am) – Cyber Security in Offshore and Onshore Logistics

This morning event will address cyber security in marine, offshore and logistics, and is aimed at academics, data scientists, logistics experts and distribution companies.

· September 15 (1pm – 2.30pm) – Protecting Data in Healthcare

CCIOs, CISOs, IT Directors in NHS, digital consultancies, software and healthcare providers and SMEs interested in healthcare and cyber

· September 17 (10am – 1pm) – Lessons from COVID, Getting Ready for Whatever’s Next

A Joint Fraud forum, led by North East Business Resilience Centre and Northumbria University, and aimed at businesses, crime professionals and data analysts.

· September 22 (4.30pm-6.15pm) – Interested in a Career in Cyber Security?

Find out what it takes to be an in-demand, highly-skilled cybersecurity professional in one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. Aimed at students.

· September 23 (8.30am – 10.30am) – Is Cyber Crime is Good for the Banking Sector?

Representatives from the banking and cyber security sector will be debating the motions for and against whether ‘cyber crime is good for the banking sector.’ A morning event aimed at the financial sector, police and those involved with business ethics.

· September 24 (12pm – 2pm) Staying Safe from Cyber Crime in Tourism

A session exploring how tourism businesses can protect themselves from cyber crime.

· September 24 (6pm – 8.30pm) – The Role of Cyber Security in the Future of Teesside

A joint session led by Teesside University and Teesside Business Club.

· September 29 – Bringing Creativity to Cyber Security (5.30pm-8pm)

An evening session hosted by Breeze Creatives, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) and the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) looking at bringing creativity to cyber security. The event will include the unveiling of a commissioned cyber related artwork and is aimed at technical and creative communities.

All events are free to attend and for more information, and to book tickets, go to

Phil leads on Dynamo North East’s cyber resilience cluster, which is supported by Accenture, and aims to champion the region’s cyber-security and resilience sector; work with universities to develop increase cyber research and development; to enhance skills in the sector and to work with law enforcement and other agencies to meet regional and UK-wide cyber security objectives.

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