»Cyber Sages« will advise policymakers, industry and the public on security matters

By establishing the association, the city of Bonn is increasing its significance as a center for security. Cyber Security Cluster Bonn e.V. bundles all of the region’s security institutions under a single roof. By banding together, government institutions, the Bundeswehr, research organizations in the industry will make the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg region a European center of excellence for cyber security.

© Fraunhofer FKIE
A high-caliber panel discussion took place at the kick-off of the Cyber Security Cluster Bonn, that included BSI president Arne Schoenbohm, Telekom board member Thomas Kremer, Major General Juergen Setzer (CIR command) and Fraunhofer president Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer.
© Sascha Engst/Bundesstadt Bonn
Afterword, a lively Q&A took place at a press conference at the old City Hall in Bonn.
© Fraunhofer FKIE
The issue of cyber security is taking on central importance at the Fraunhofer Society, which is why Fraunhofer president Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer (r.) and FKIE Institute Director Prof. Dr. Peter Martini both took part in the founding event for the cluster. Prof. Martini is also the vice-chairman of the association.

Cyber attacks in Germany are increasing at an explosive rate. Deutsche Telekom alone registered a peak of 15 million attacks per day this year on its digital honeypots in the internet. The security industry is on high alert. Those who choose to go it alone against the ever more devious hackers will face rising losses in the future, which is why the Federal Office for Information Security, the Bundeswehr Cyber and Information Space Command, Telekom, the University of Bonn, the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE have joined forces with the City of Bonn and other partners; among them, the IHK Bonn/Rhein-Sieg, the NRW Police, Deutsche Post DHL Group and other companies. The new Cyber Security Cluster Bonn e.V. aims to improve this collaboration in the future.

Bonn Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan says, »Bonn was one of the first cities in Germany to recognize the challenges and opportunities of digitalization, which is why I established the Digital Bonn Initiative. Even today, the city offers the most progressive network for cyber security in Germany, if not in all Europe. Cyber Security Cluster Bonn e.V. underscores the city's position in the fight against internet crime.«

The head of security for Telekom, Dirk Backofen, says, »We want to help make Bonn the cyber security valley of Europe.  In cyber defense, the options are asymmetrical. The attacker determines the time, target and method. And the attacks are reaching dimensions once thought inconceivable. We must, therefore, oppose this malicious army with an army of good. The association is an important step in that direction.«

Dr. Hubertus Hille is the managing director of the IHK Bonn/Rhein-Sieg, one of the initiators and drivers of the Digital Bonn Initiative and the new Cyber Security Cluster. According to Dr. Hille: »Our determined efforts have paid off with the founding of this association and strengthened our regional economy, which continues to distinguish itself as an ICT location. The digitalization of our economic life will not succeed without corresponding activities in the field of cyber security; that is why this day is so important for all of us.«

The Cyber Sages Council for the Federal Government

The members of the Bonn Cyber Security Cluster have set themselves numerous concrete collaboration objectives. For example, the association wants to form an internationally recognized committee of experts in the form of a »sages council« made up of the country’s leading security specialists which would make recommendations to national and EU cyber-security policy makers as well as to business. In addition, the committee plans to publish an annual report on the security situation in Germany.

From a technological point of view, the association also wants to set the tone and has plenty of ideas: a district of Bonn could be used as a showcase for secure digital technology. »Secure Digital City Bonn« aims to make keyless access systems, intelligent parking, digital identity, autonomous driving and digital payment a tangible reality. This will pave the way for these technologies to enter the mass market.

The Cyber Security Cluster Bonn will also provide funding for start-ups, research, training and events. Once a year some 3,000 international experts will convene in Bonn for an event entitled »Cyber Security Tech Summit Europe.« The association wants to use an award ceremony to draw the public's attention to cyber crime and how to protect against it.