DNS Belgium collaborates with the University of Namur on cybersecurity

19 April 2024

DNS Belgium was recently invited to talk to students at the University of Namur (UNamur) about the many initiatives that are taken to raise cybersecurity awareness. Of course, we also gave them tips on how to increase their own online security. 

For the second year in a row, DNS Belgium worked closely with the University of Namur, in particular with Professor Wafa Hammedi, as part of the Engineering and Management Sciences master's programme on service design and innovation. 

During this collaboration, DNS had the opportunity to present the many initiatives we have taken in the field of cyber security. Of course, it is also a great opportunity to give students advice so that they can strengthen their own online security and, above all, encourage them to incorporate this knowledge into their projects. 

‘Cybersecurity is important and cybersecurity awareness is growing. Although technological progress is crucial in combating cybercrime, experts are acknowledging more and more that relying on technology alone is not enough,’ says Prof. dr. Wafa Hammedi (UNamur). The human factor and an increasing awareness of our online security are at least as important as technology. 

Human-centred approach to cybersecurity

For Prof. Hammedi (photo) this is reason enough to devote a whole class in the Service Design and Innovation course to a human-centred approach to cybersecurity. 'Creating value in the service sector is closely linked to the deployment of advanced technologies, increasing the number of touch points between users and service providers. It is therefore crucial to make our students aware of the risks associated with different technologies and digital channels, and on how they shape user experiences and relationships with service providers' she says.

‘As a major player in the field of cybersecurity, DNS Belgium has chosen a specific, human-centred approach to cybersecurity. DNS Belgium sets itself apart by continuing to innovate and putting awareness and behavioural change in the spotlight.’

We were therefore very happy that Prof. Hammedi invited us to her class for the second consecutive year to teach students more about cybersecurity, cybercrime and what they can personally do to increase their online security. During the student project kick-off session our colleague Arnaud Recko spoke about the various forms of cybersecurity in detail and outlined the situation in Belgium with figures. He showed who cybercriminals like to target and what the typical profile of a cybercriminal is.

Actions for specific target groups

‘A meticulous definition of your target group is a crucial part of the Service Design process. Without generalising, it's important to recognise that different generations have different values, behaviours, preferences and attitudes towards products and services,’ according to Prof. Dr. Hammedi. 

This is exactly why DNS Belgium developed several awareness campaigns in recent years specifically targeting young and older people. In collaboration with various partners, it also developed the EDUbox Cybersecurity, a free teaching package for secondary school children.

Insights into human behaviour

‘The fact that DNS Belgium approaches cybersecurity in a human-centred way is a paradigm shift,’ believes Prof. Hammedi. ‘They do this by combining advanced technology with a great understanding of the behaviour and motives of people. Through its proactive efforts to create awareness, educate users and encourage behavioural change, DNS Belgium shows a forward-thinking approach that sets a new standard for cybersecurity.’

‘The fact that DNS Belgium approaches cybersecurity in a human-centred way is a paradigm shift.’

Although we often assume that young people are completely on board with everything that goes on online, we were able to teach them a thing or two. ‘During the presentation Arnaud gave several examples of the risks of a digital society. I was very surprised by the increase in cybersecurity risks and Arnaud explained very clearly how we can protect ourselves,’ says William Thomas who attended the class. 

After Arnaud let the students do some tests to see if they're sufficiently aware of cybercrime, he explained to them why we're so vulnerable and what we can do about it. ‘I can honestly say that since that class, I am much more alert to internet fraud. For example, I'll always check any links I click now,’ says William. Mission accomplished, we think.

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.