Workshop examines cyber-based threatsGARMISCH-PARTNEKIRCHEN, Germany – Threats in the cyber realm are the focus of a four-day workshop Oct. 29-Nov. 1 here for Central Asian alumni of the Department of Defense’s European Regional Center.

“Security in the Cyber Age,” a Central Asia regional alumni workshop, draws together about a dozen participants from Central Asia to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Attendees are from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This is the second workshop done for Central Asian participants.

The workshop examines the subject of cyber security and will review global and regional cyber threats, legal and military aspects to cyber security, and examine successful cyber strategies. Further, participants will discuss specific regional cyber issues and discuss practical and pragmatic ways to improve regional cooperation in this area.

“These Central Asia regional workshops are in the footsteps of the creation last year of a Southeast Europe regional alumni association, which has proved to be a very successful model for regional collaboration and cooperation,” said Dean Dwigans, chief of alumni programs. “This is a topic of emerging importance to their nations and the Central Asian region as a whole.”

“This Marshall Center workshop follows on from a successful February Central Asian Regional Alumni Workshop on the topic of regional security issues and cooperation strategies, which saw four of five Central Asian nations participate,” he said. “Information and cyber security were listed as one of the top five regional security issues for Central Asian participants on the post-workshop survey.”

Central Asia includes five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, composed of a total population of about 63 million. Dwigans said one of the fastest growing security challenges for the region is in the area of information and cyber security.

“Central Asia also finds itself at a key geographic crossroads located between two hubs of global cyber crime, China and Russia,” Dwigans said. “Estimates from 2011 show that more than one-third of global cyber crime came from the Russian-speaking world.”

Goals for the event include increased awareness, improved regional cooperation, sharing best methods and practices, and strengthening the role of Marshall Center alumni in Central Asia.