Centre of Expertise Cyber Security

Research Group Cybersecurity in the SME Sector

Cyber Security is an acute and increasingly common problem. Combatting it requires not only fundamental scientific research, but also applied practical research. The Cyber Security in the SME Sector research group is committed to applying practical means to help SMEs in the Netherlands become more digitally safe and aware with the support of evidence-based high-quality research.

About the research group

SMEs often lack the capacity to counteract cyberattacks and are relatively often victims. The Cyber Security in the SME Sector research group is committed to applying practical means to help SMEs in the Netherlands become more digitally aware and safe in order to reduce the damage caused by cybercrime. This new research group, headed by Rutger Leukfeldt, PhD, has three lines of research: (1) looking at the resilience of SMEs, (2) gaining insight into cybercrime and (3) dealing with cybercrime aimed at SMEs. The full research agenda can be read here.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have an urgent need for useful knowledge. This is also confirmed by MKB-Nederland (a branch organisation for the SME sector) and the VNO-NCW (the branch organisation for employers). This need has mobilised the NSCR and The Hague University of Applied Sciences to establish a joint programme of applied research into cyber security. Rutger Leukfeldt, PhD, serves as a binding factor between the two organisations. He is a lector at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and has been appointed the researcher and coordinator of the cybercrime cluster at the NSCR.

To help fund the research group, an L.INT subsidy request was submitted to the National Taskforce for Applied Research SIA (NRPO SIA), an agency of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW) that stimulates and finances applied research at universities of applied sciences. The NRPO SIA’s L.INT subsidies are specifically aimed at stimulating positions for heads of research groups whose research groups focus on a long-term partnership between the NOW institutes and universities of applied sciences as based on a joint research programme. This application was granted. Also contributing to the funding of this research group are the Municipality of The Hague, the Municipality of Zoetermeer and the Ministry of Security and Justice.

About the professor

dr. Rutger Leukfeldt

Rutger is the lector of the Cybersecurity in the SME sector at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and senior researcher of cybercrime and coordinator of the cybercrime cluster at The Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). He has more than 10 years of experience with scientific research into cybersecurity and cybercrime for both public and private clients. A few examples are research into the methods used and the characteristics of cyber criminals, into the victims of cybercrime among citizens and into the status of cybercrime cases in the criminal law system. Rutger earned his PhD with a study into the origin and growth processes, as well as criminal possibilities of cybercrime networks, and developed a model for the police and banks that can be used to more effectively combat cyber attacks. Rutger has also been the recipient of two prestigious research grants to conduct research into cybercrime. In 2015, he earned the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (EU subsidy for promising researchers) and, in 2017, a Veni Grant (Netherlands Initiative for Education Research subsidy for talented researchers). Finally, Rutger is chairman of the Cybercrime Working Group of the European Society of Criminology.

Building a community of SMEs, local authorities, cyber security companies, researchers and students with whom we can conduct experiments and research in the field of cyber security is of great importance.

Research project ‘Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-sized Companies’