Communication and knowledge – IT-security

The Challenge: Growing Cybersecurity Risks, Few Specialists

Training and development in the field of IT security is an issue of national interest, given that cyber attacks on critical infrastructures or industrial complexes can result in significant financial losses, the disruption of vital supply networks, or the breakdown of public order. The growing trend toward connectivity and digitalization only accentuates the threat. Already in 2014, 61 percent of the companies cited expertise in IT security as one of their priorities when recruiting qualified staff. And yet in 2015 only five of the 64 major universities with computer science departments offered degree courses in IT and cybersecurity. Moreover, the shortage of trained specialists in the security industry will reach 1.5 million worldwide by 2020. Hence, professionally trained IT security specialists are a rare commodity in Germany. The Solution: Cybersecurity Training.

Lab for Security Experts of Tomorrow

So as not to fall behind in the arms race with cyber criminals, IT teams and managers must constantly hone their skills and improve their expertise in order to stay at least one step ahead. Several Fraunhofer Institutes and universities of applied sciences are now offering a modular, parttime study program to alleviate the unmet demand for training opportunities. The Cybersecurity Training Lab created for this purpose will receive six million euros per year in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) during its first years of operation.

The Concept: Collaboration with Technical Colleges for Up-to-Date Research Knowledge

Fraunhofer and a select group of universities have developed a modular concept for cybersecurity training. This collaborative approach enables the latest theoretical or practical research findings to be immediately incorporated into the teaching program. Students will work in modern laboratories equipped with simulation tools allowing real threat scenarios to be tested. They can specialize in the following thematic areas:

  • »Industrial manufacturing/Industrie 4.0«
  • »Critical infrastructures/Use cases for energy and water infrastructures«
  • »High-security and emergency response facilities«
  • »Internet security and IT forensics«
  • »Software quality / certification«
  • »Embedded systems, mobile security and the internet of things«

The Recipe for Success: Accumulation of Competence Meeting the Needs

The teaching components are condensed into a compact format requiring only part-time attendance, and the modules can be combined in different ways to match the IT security requirements of various professional functions. The Fraunhofer Academy intends to develop new modules based on demand and provides end-to-end quality management.

The cybersecurity training labs in short

Industrial manufacturing/Industry 4.0

Partners: Fraunhofer IOSB, Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, HS Ostwestfalen-Lippe

In a networked world, the protection of production plants does not end at the factory wall or the fence of the premises any more. Attackers can gain access to the systems through the network connections and manipulate them; malicious code infections can result in a standstill of major areas of production, causing enormous physical damage and endangering human beings. For this reason, new strategies and methods have to be found for production environments to ensure IT security in practice, not only in new systems, but also in existing installations, above all.

Critical infrastructures/Use cases for energy and water infrastructures

Partners: Fraunhofer IOSB-AST, Fraunhofer IDMT, HS Zittau/Görlitz

Embedded systems interact independently; planning systems from the cloud schedule production steps and machine utilization; plant operators monitor and control remotely; maintenance staff has global access to modify configurations. Fraunhofer IOSB’s IT security lab provides an ideal test environment to simulate real-world scenarios and analyze the effects. The IT security lab includes a specific smart factory with genuine automation components controlling a simulated production plant.

Embedded systems, mobile security and the internet of things

Partners: Fraunhofer AISEC, Fraunhofer IIS, OTH Amberg-Weiden, HS Aalen

The fast reduction of structure sizes in semiconductor technology allows the fabrication of increasingly powerful, energy-saving, and low-price microprocessors. Small micro-controllers can nowadays be found in more and more devices of daily life, like cars or mobile phones. These so-called embedded systems perform various sophisticated and sometimes safety-critical tasks. Failures of these systems have an immediate impact on our real live. These systems impose high requirements on safety and reliability.

High-security and emergency response facilities

Partners: Fraunhofer FKIE, HS Bonn-Rhein-Sieg

more information will follow shortly.

Software quality/certification

Partners: Fraunhofer FOKUS, HTW Berlin, TH Brandenburg

more information will follow shortly.

Internet security and IT forensics

Partners: Fraunhofer SIT, HS Mittweida, HS Darmstadt

more information will follow shortly.