Cyber Security & Technology Series

Technology Roundtable in Munich (2019)

Impression from the Technology Roundtable at the MSC 2019 (Photo: MSC / Müller)

On February 16, on the sidelines of its annual main conference, the MSC hosted a Technology Roundtable, in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center and RAND Corporation, the event engaged more than 30 participants from politics, international organizations, the private sector, academia, and the military in an off-the-record dialogue.

At the roundtable, participants discussed the challenges associated with the development of hypersonic weapons, including how it may change the future of warfare. Capable of executing maneuvers at extremely high speed and altitude, these weapon systems are highly unpredictable and leave very little warning time. Hence, participants warned that human decision-making processes would prove ineffective in preventing hypersonic missile attacks. Instead, effective defense will require algorithm-based counter measures. Proliferation was another issue of concern for participants. In particular, they identified a series of obstacles, both technical and political, which efforts to apply existing arms control arrangements to hypersonic technology would have to overcome.

Cyber Security Roundtable in Munich (2019)

Participants at the Cyber Security Roundtable at the MSC 2019 (Photo: MSC /Müller)

On February 15, on the sidelines of its annual main conference, the MSC hosted a Roundtable on Cyber Security, uniting more than 50 participants from politics, international organizations, the private sector, academia, and the military, to discuss current and future challenges that originate in cyberspace.

In particular, participants highlighted the growing vulnerability of connected, networked, highly digitized societies to cyberattacks. After all, in an era of deeply connected supply chains and the Internet of Things, such attacks may affect the daily life of millions of people. The discussion subsequently focused on ways to react to the increased risk of cyberattacks, including hack backs after actual attacks and efforts to strengthen one’s defense capabilities. Discussants also acknowledged the fact that any attempt at regulating cyber space risked being outpaced by the rapid speed of technological development. Participants issued a call for immediate international action and highlighted the need to keep discussing this issue at the highest level.

About the Cyber Security & Technology Series

Technological change is continually transforming the way countries develop, interact, and pursue their security interests at home and abroad. Accordingly, cyber security in particular has become a critical item on the international security agenda in recent years. The growing attention this topic commands is reflected in discussions about norms in the cyber realm, concerns about Big Data and privacy, as well as the security of critical infrastructure. Simultaneously, technological developments, such as artificial intelligence and new types of weapons systems, are having an untold security implications – in conventional warfare, the cyber realm, as well as outer space. A key aim of the Cyber Security & Technology Series is bridging the worlds of technology, politics and the security sector by including in its events selected decision-makers at the highest levels of government, academia, militaries, the private sector, and civil society.

Summits, Roundtables and other activities

As part of the Cyber Security & Technology Series, the MSC organizes numerous events, which vary in size.

MSC Summits address an audience of up to 150 high-profile representatives from government, academia, the military, the private sector, and civil society, while also retaining the MSC’s trademark atmosphere of open exchange and frank debates in an exclusive setting. These summits aim to bring together political and economic leaders to develop security strategies against threats from cyberspace and consider the challenges as well as opportunities that accompany technological progress.

MSC Roundtables are intimate, off-the-record gatherings of no more than 40 participants taking place throughout the year at the sidelines of high-level international events around the world. The topics of discussion are tailored to reflect current debates and challenges in cyber security and technology, attracting high-ranking representatives from governments, academia, militaries, the private sector, and civil society.

Further MSC events in the Series focus on bridging the gap between private and public sector innovation. As an increasing number of start-ups caters to the defence sector, the MSC and its international partners provide a platform to strengthen cross-sectoral dialogue. During the annual flagship conference in Munich, technology and cyber issues have regularly taken center stage at panel discussions as well as in a growing number of side events. Further, the MSC regularly includes chapters on technological issues in its annual Munich Security Reports, such as a chapter on cyber security in the 2018 edition of the report.

Past Events

Cyber Security Summit in Tallinn (2018)

How can we defend democracy in the digital age? And how can we ensure that military technology, strategies, and procurement planning stay in sync with the accelerating pace of technological innovation? These were among the pressing questions raised by senior leaders from politics, the business and tech communities, academia, the military, and the intelligence sector at the MSC Cyber Security Summit 2018 on May 29. The high-level decision-makers and experts present included the President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, the Estonian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Defence, Sven Mikser and Jüri Luik, the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Antonio Missiroli, the Norwegian Armed Forces Chief of Cyber Defence, General Inge Kampenes, and the Inspector of the Cyber and Information Space Command of the German Armed Forces, General Ludwig Leinhos.

It was the sixth Cyber Security Summit the MSC hosted jointly with Deutsche Telekom, with this year's summit also benefitting from cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). The full-day program of the summit featured three on-the-record panel discussions, as well as a number of smaller roundtable sessions under Chatham House Rules.

Our report summarizes the key issues and arguments from the summit. You can view a selection of photographic impressions of the event in our media library.

Roundtable on Technology & Security in Munich (2018)

For the first time, the MSC dedicated a roundtable at the annual flagship conference to the growing challenges that artificial intelligence poses to the arena of international security. The event was attended by leading representatives from militaries, governments, the think tank community, and the private sector.

Participants agreed that a race to the top in artificial intelligence was already underway. Managing the risks of artificial intelligence and its intersections with current technologies, such as nuclear weapons, was considered a crucial undertaking for the near future. The discussion also revolved around the wider topic of cyber space, where traditional notions of deterrence and proportionality are less and less adequate. There was broad agreement that discussions of cyber space’s role should no longer be held in isolation, but in the context of concrete conflict scenarios.

Roundtable on Cyber Security in Munich (2018)

At the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference 2018, the MSC organized a Cyber Security Roundtable, titled "Mutually Assured Disruption – Deterrence in the Age of Cyber Geopolitics." Partnering with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and the EastWest Institute, the event brought together a group of selected participants from non-governmental organizations, governments, private companies, international organizations as well as the military.

During the roundtable, participants discussed possible threats of state-sponsored cyberattacks and to which extent institutional responses could increase stability in cyberspace. Participants highlighted the role that the United Nations and other multilateral fora could play in the process of adopting norms of behavior for states. Subsequently, the debates at the roundtable focused on the moral and legal responsibility of technology companies in the creation of cyber infrastructure and tools, including offensive cyber weapons.

Roundtable on Cyber Security in Brussels (2017)

What are the current shortcomings of the EU legislative agenda and policy debate on cybersecurity? Is Europe sufficiently prepared to deal with cyber aggression by third countries and which instruments should Europe develop to respond to large-scale cyber-attacks? How can the political deadlock in the cyber norms process between Western "like-minded" states and Russia/China be overcome? And how is technology impacting geopolitics and how is geopolitics impacting technology? These were some of the crucial questions that were discussed at the MSC Roundtable on Cybersecurity on November 6, 2017 in Brussels.

The discussion was held under Chatham House Rules. Our report here summarizes the key points of the discussions. See a few photo impressions from the day's agenda here in our Media Library.

Cyber Security Summit in Tel Aviv (2017)

The fifth MSC Cyber Security Summit (CSS) was co-hosted with Deutsche Telekom in Tel Aviv on June 28, 2017, bringing the MSC Cyber Security Series to one of the most dynamic IT hubs in the world. On occasion of Israel's Cyber Week 2017, the MSC partnered with the National Cyber Directorate at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University. By placing our debates alongside cutting-edge discussions on the IT and digital industries at Cyber Week, the summit attempted to bridge the often bemoaned disconnect between tech practitioners and policy-makers. The summit's 120 participants included senior representatives from politics, business, academia, the military, and the intelligence sector.

Topics of discussion included the cyber dimension of Grand Strategies in international relations, the challenge digital technologies pose to democratic processes, the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, and the efficacy of cyber norms. The public agenda of the summit can be found here. The most important points made during the debates are summarized in our conference report. You can also get an impression of the summit from the photos and videos in our media library.

Cyber Security Summit in Silicon Valley (2016)

On September 19 and 20, 2016, the Munich Security Conference and Deutsche Telekom organized the fourth Cyber Security Summit in Palo Alto, California. It was hosted by the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Among the roughly 100 participants were representatives from US and EU authorities, the cyber security coordinators of several European states, numerous business leaders, as well as security experts from various Silicon Valley companies.

The conference report as well as a selection of photos and videos give a more detailed impression of the Summit.

Cyber Security Summit 2014

The third Cyber Security Summit took place on November 3, 2014 in Bonn. More than 180 senior guests from politics, the private sector, the intelligence community, and NGO leaders discussed the state of play and potential steps ahead concerning recent developments in cyber and information warfare, data protection, and expectations and responsibilities of ICT companies.

Cyber Security Summit 2013

On November 11, 2013, around 130 top managers of major German corporations, leading politicians, and experts from the EU and Germany came together for the second Cyber Security Summit. The conference focused on the topics of espionage and sabotage and the regulatory frameworks at the national and international level. In working groups, participants discussed cyber security as a factor for investment and innovation, defining common areas for action and providing ideas for a networked digital defense.


The Final Communiqué of the 2nd Cyber Security Summit is available for download (PDF). Read more about the debates of the second Cyber Security Summit in this report.

Cyber Security Summit 2012

The first Cyber Security Summit took place on September 12, 2012, in Bonn. For the first time, the Munich Security Conference together with the Deutsche Telekom brought together high-ranking experts to discuss challenges of cyber security. The final communiqué of the first Cyber Security Summit (in German) is available for download here.