At the launch of the Cybersecurity Outreach Programme at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork are (background, l-r) Farhan Fahim Alam, School Principal Pádraig Mac an Rí, Nikolay Lynch and Raluca Saceanu of Zero Day Con, with Sinul Guatam in front. Photo: Brian Lougheed

Cybersecurity event adds event for schools

A major cybersecurity event this week launched a new initiative which aims to improve awareness of data security amongst secondary school students.

Zero Day Con launched its Cybersecurity Outreach Programme (COP) which invites schools across Ireland to an expert webinar in March where speakers will engage the next generation of engineers and programmers on the importance of online security.

COP will form an extension of Zero Day Con, which will take place at the Convention Centre in Dublin on 10 March. As part of the conference’s new outreach programme, schools will also be in with a chance to win new IT equipment which will be funded from 20% of ticket sales for the event.

There will also be a one hour webinar which will be hosted online on 22 March for secondary school students. It will feature some of the experts who appeared at Zero Day Con, as well as specific advice for young people on the risks they may encounter online and if exposed to the dark web.

Students will be invited to send questions to the speakers, who will share insights on some of the activities they witness when detecting criminal activity online, including common ways in which hackers can access personal information. Schools who apply to attend the webinar will be automatically entered into the draw for new laptops and tablets.

Raluca Saceanu of Zero Day Con said: “The extension of ZeroDayCon to the classroom is a natural progression as cybersecurity is now a part of all of our lives, from the youngest to the oldest in our society. Our job will be to break down how you can protect yourself online, as well as outlining some of the techniques that bad actors can employ to convince people to part with their personal data.

“We are also conscious that the next generation of engineers and white-hat hackers are currently at school, and we would hope to show them the importance of a career in cybersecurity.”

Zero Day Con gathers international experts to discuss the latest cybersecurity trends and challenges and has toured venues and attracted thousands of delegates in Dublin, New York and Washington DC since 2017. The theme for the 2022 event at the Convention Centre Dublin is ‘Supercharge Your Security’, at a time when new technologies, attack vectors, geopolitical tensions and regulations are reshaping cyber and business risks.

Amongst the speakers at this year’s event will be the Chief Information Officer at the United States’ Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Special Agent Laukik Suthar. Zero Day Con is scheduled as an in-person conference for the first time in two years.

Special Agent Laukik said he’s looking forward to visiting Dublin: “I am very excited to speak at Zero Day Con 2022. The event will be a great opportunity to discuss cyber resiliency, and how private and public organizations can collaborate effectively on cyber initiatives.”

Zero Day Con is organised by managed security service provider Smarttech247. Schools interested in getting involved with the COP can email for full details.

Tickets for Zero Day Con are available via