Setting up a Cyber Defense Center to improve educational training in IT security.
Society and the economy are heavily dependent on secure and reliable infrastructures. This also applies to the virtual space on the Internet (or cyberspace) with all its information infrastructures. In Austria, all areas of social and economic life are already inextricably linked to the services in cyberspace and therefore have become a part of a networked world. Unsurprisingly, the access to this network as wells as the integrity, authenticity and confidentiality of the services it offers are highly relevant for society and the economy. They also represent one of the most important pillars for securing economic competitiveness and triggering innovations.
Cyber Defense Centers (CDCs) play an increasingly important role in IT security, especially large enterprises and government organizations regard them as the most vital part of their defensive line against cyber-attacks. More precisely, CDC’s are used for collecting, processing and providing security-critical information in a structured manner, thereby building the foundation on which decision makers and analysts draw conclusions. Processing and analysing data on security-related issues and employing the latest methods from the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for that, requires appropriately trained personnel, which is scarce. That even in specialized training on IT security CDCs are not given the attention they deserve, further aggravates the situation. Companies are trying to remedy this with in-house training, but many - especially the SME sector – simply lack the knowledge and financial resources to do so.
Goals and Results
The main goal of this project is to establish a Cyber Defense Center for teaching and training purposes at the Department of Computer Science and Security at St.Pölten UAS. The training will cover the latest developments and methods in IT security research including methods of Artificial Intelligence and offer a (for Austria) unique focus on attack analysis. The contents of the training will not only be tailored to the needs of students but will also be available for Lower Austrian companies, for instance, via the Digital Innovation Hubs OST (DIHOST). The motivation behind this is to familiarize local companies with IT security issues and to increase the resilience of their security infrastructure (against cyber-attacks e.g.). This is especially important for Lower Austria's highly relevant SME sector.
Incorporating the CDC into teaching at the Department of Computer Science and Security, raises the quality of education for students at St. Pölten UAS and makes it possible to offer an educational programme that is without equal in Austria. In addition, the teaching offer that can be realized via such a CDC – integrating practical "real world" scenarios, for instance – increases the job opportunities for graduates and the number of qualified specialists in the field of IT security.