Historic research drive in the field of cyber and information security

Historisk forskningssatsing

When the most important players in the field of information and cyber security join forces to strengthen the educational provision, this is the strongest Norwegian competence boost in this field ever. Through a joint effort Gjøvik University College will become an international powerhouse in the field.

Pressrelease 11th of June 2013

In its Report on National Security the Standing Committee on Justice stated that a national research centre for information security should be established at Gjøvik University College. Less than a week later a number of organizations accepted the challenge and established Centre for Cyber and Information Security at Gjøvik University College. The initiators include the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), Politidirektoratet (the Directorate of Police), the Norwegian Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) (PST), the Norwegian Cyber Force (Cyberforsvaret), Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), Telenor, Statkraft, Statnett and Eidsiva, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim), Kripos, the National ID Centre, PwC and Oppland County. Besides, an invitation is open to other organizations to participate in the initiative. The new centre was launched in connection with NSM’s 10th anniversary.

The research centre marks the beginning of a unique, innovative and historic effort in the field of cyber and information security, which will position Norway in a leading role. The new centre will be of both national and international importance.

Centre for Cyber and Information Security at Gjøvik University College will build its activities on an existing strong environment in the field of information security. To start with, the initiators will allocate almost 14 man-years to the Centre, including the creation of ten new professorships. This will be a considerable strengthening of both teaching and research at the College.

-In many ways this is historic. It is historic because it is the first time so many interested parties join forces to meet a competence challenge by investing in academia. It is historic that the nation’s security organizations cooperate as closely as this. And the cooperation model as such, with strong and continuous participation by the user organizations, is unusual in Norway. I would like to commend the organizations for their commitment. They have thought and acted in a very innovative way and demonstrated unusual speed and resolve. As a nation we should be proud of what we see here today, says Morten Irgens, Vice Rector of Gjøvik University College.

Building on a strong environment

Gjøvik University College has one of Europe’s largest academic research teams in the field of information security and offers strong, specialized programmes of study in information security both at bachelor, master and PhD level. During the past year this environment has been mentioned in as many as four reports to the Storting and other reports. The College has also been entrusted with the task of organizing the national research school in information security. The establishment of the Centre also fits in with the Government’s digitalization programme, where a “digitalization of public services” is proposed. “Norway aims at being in the forefront internationally in supplying digital public services to the general public and to business and industry.”

In connection with the digitalization of critical infrastructure, it is very important to have a strong interdisciplinary focus, a good working environment, good cooperation and research to make society secure in the future. At the same time both Norwegian enterprises and Norwegian security authorities report about an increased threat level in the digital space, which means that this field of study will require increased effort in the years to come.

Quotations

-The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) has for a long time called for a strengthening of the education in the security subjects. We believe that supporting the creation of new professorships at Gjøvik University College will mean a substantial strengthening of the security situation in Norway, as well as increased competence, applied research and cooperation in this field of study, says Director Kjetil Nilsen of NSM.

-The cyber threat is both a military and a civilian threat. Norway, the Armed Forces and my organization need a robust and world leading research centre in the area of cyber security where jointly we will be able to develop knowledge and competence, and strengthen our ability to meet current and future threats. By investing time and man-years in the Centre for Cyber and Information Security today, we will be able to profit on our investment in the form of an improved ability to deal with the fastest emerging threat in our time, says Major General Roar Sundseth, Commander of the Norwegian Cyber Force.

-The Police see a need for strengthening the competence in the area of information security. Criminals to a large degree adopt new technology at the same time as ordinary crime leaves digital traces. It is important to avoid a gap in the competence between those who have dishonest intentions and us, who are to stop or investigate them. The Centre for Cyber and Information Security is an exciting initiative that we look forward to participate in in the time to come, says Reidar Humlegård, Director of Police.

-PST looks forward to the establishment of the research centre for information security. It will contribute to the development of a competence environment that PST may also profit from in the longer term. We see that the intelligence services of other countries increasingly use digital tools and the Internet to steal business secrets and information related to research, development, plans and contracts. By strengthening the education in this field, we will be better equipped to prevent such illegal activity, says Marie Benedicte Bjørnland, Chief of PST.

-FFI is positive to degrees and programmes of study in ICT security being offered at universities and university colleges. There is a great need for people with competence related to security and this will probably increase in the years to come. We are very positive to the cooperation between central players to establish Centre for Cyber and Information Security. This initiative may strengthen both the cooperation on research and the recruitment to positions in this area, says Anders Eggen, Head of Department, FFI.

Contact information:

Gjøvik University College: Morten Irgens, Vice-Rector, Dean and Head of Research / Gjøvik University College - NisLab. 465 41 941. Morten.irgens@hig.no
Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM): Fredrik Ruud Johnsen, Communication Adviser, 915 24 492, fredrik.johnsen@nsm.stat.no
Norwegian Cyber Force: Head of Communication, Knut H. Grandhagen. 489 55 505, kngrandhagen@cyfor.mil.no
Directorate of police: Gase Handeland, Communication Adviser, Directorate of Police. 480 82 713. Gase.handeland@politiet.no
PST: Trond Hugubakken, Director of Information PST. 415 54 769. thu@pst.politiet.no