Cyber-security in focus
The Fulbright Commission started a grant program in the field of cyber-security and critical infrastructure last year in cooperation with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The first grantee made two trips to Iceland in the first half of 2018 and gave the program an impressive start. Eileen Decker, a former United States Attorney for the Los Angeles region and former deputy mayor in LA with extensive experience in cyber-security is currently teaching both at USC, where she developed a new course on cyber-crime for law students, and at UCLA, where she developed a course on comparative counterterrorism. We were fortunate to have her bring her expertise to Iceland, where she worked with faculty at the new universitylevel police academy program at the University of Akureyri.
During her second visit last spring, the Commission also organized Fulbright CyberSecurity Week in Reykjavik. A program of meetings took place, where Eileen met with high-level government officials, including at the Ministry of Justice and Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as well as the National Security Council Contact Group. She also met with the Cyber-Security Council, law enforcement, and Parliament staff and gave an open lecture at the University of Iceland.
Asked to comment on her visit to Iceland, Eileen said “The visit was extremely rewarding, both professionally and personally. I hope my visit to Iceland helped to increase the discussions of cyber-security issues and raise public awareness about this important issue. Even though my Fulbright Specialist visit is complete, I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the University of Akureyri and to assisting the instructors in further developing their cyber-security curriculum. Cyber vulnerabilities exist throughout the world, including in Iceland, and these vulnerabilities are likely to grow in the future.
Despite existing vulnerabilities, Iceland´s greatest strengths include: (1) Icelanders recognize that they are vulnerable and lack the specific expertise needed to fully address the problem; and (2) Icelanders are extremely receptive to ideas, suggestions, and materials that will assist their cybersecurity efforts. The resources and expertise available through the Fulbright Commission and the National Science Foundation creates a tremendous opportunity for Iceland to address this complex problem.”