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"The beauty of dcypher is that it is open to all players"

"The beauty of dcypher is that it is open to all players"

Arian Steenbruggen: "It would be nice if the government took the lead in drawing up a sector picture and plan for cyber security."

Gepubliceerd op 12 januari 2022

Connecting and helping parties with expertise in the field of cyber security in the Netherlands: that is what the dcypher collaboration platform will ensure. It's important, because digital crimes such as data leaks, hacks and DDoS attacks are becoming more common and more drastic. Arian Steenbruggen, director at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), is one of the board members. "As a recognised platform, we can ensure that the knowledge chain is well connected and parties work together."

As director, Steenbruggen leads the new NWO domain of Exact and Natural Sciences. She is one of the few women in such a high position in science. "At the VHTO expertise centre, I am committed to promoting gender diversity in STEM, engineering and IT," she says. "VHTO organises guest lectures and speed dates at secondary schools, for instance. It is not just a matter of emancipation. Diversity also allows you to look at issues from multiple perspectives, such as in brainstorming. And that leads to better solutions.

Hack at NWO

How unsociable. That's what Steenbruggen heard when, as a secondary school student, she chose to study Chemical Engineering. "Affinity with IT came naturally after that," she says, "because as scientists we are so dependent on information systems and the internet." This became painfully clear this year when NWO had to deal with a hack. "We were down for four weeks. I was on the crisis team and saw the consequences at first hand. We lost nine days of work, had to rebuild the network structure from the bottom up and had to clean the laptops of all employees. It's the consequence of the fact that as NWO we are an attractive party, because we are sitting on an enormous container of scientific data full of valuable intellectual property."

Open to cooperation with all players

The hack at NWO has made Steenbruggen even more aware of the importance of dcypher. "The problem now is that too little money goes to cyber security and efforts are too fragmented. As a recognised platform, we can ensure that the knowledge chain is properly structured and that parties work together." Steenbruggen considers ACCSS (the ACademic Cyber Security Society), an association for scientists active in the field of cyber security, to be a good example of cooperation. "There also needs to be more cooperation in education and business, and of course between them. The beauty of dcypher is that, as a platform of platforms, it is open to all players."

Drawing up sector images and sector plans

According to Steenbruggen, the government also has a clear role to play. "It would be nice if the government took the lead in drawing up a sector review and plan for cyber security. What are the challenges around cyber security? Which parties play a role? How can the business community and education offer an answer? Also the MBO: more attention must be paid to the good work and the talents that can be found there."

Signing up and participating

Do you want to share knowledge from your organisation, company or educational institution, start a research project or contribute in another way to one of the cyber security communities? You can sign up by sending an email to


This article was originally published at

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