At a time, when we are driving greater digitalisation and are increasingly online, exposure to attacks, espionage and misuse of data is growing at the same time. Malicious manipulation of public data can go straight to the heart of our democracy and cyber-attacks can disable the business-critical systems of online industry. Are we prepared for a new online future? How will Sweden, a world leader in digital innovation, get just as good at cybersecurity? These are questions that need greater focus.
1177. Swedish Transport Agency. Facebook. These are all examples of when data has been exposed or transferred to a third party. And they all serve as a basis for generally improving security awareness. Our increasingly data-driven and online society is driving service and product creators to prioritise digital security earlier in the development chain. “If we say that we will have a data-driven society, it will build on trust. That one collects and shares data. If data is misused or ends up in the wrong hands, it damages this trust,” says Shahid Raza, unit manager at RISE. “For a company, customers might stop buying this online service, but for the public sector, it may have far greater consequences for societal development.”
The pure cyber-attacks to, for example, steel data or disable functions of online objects or critical infrastructure are another side of the concept of cybersecurity. Learning to master such attacks can be done in a new “cyberrange” in Kista beginning this autumn. In brief, a copy of one’s own system is set up and incidents are simulated. A bit like a crisis exercise to test that the organisation is on its toes and that procedures work, although with cyber-attacks.
“We have to develop our expertise on a broad front, practice and simulate real attacks to get good at this. This requires training facilities and the possibility of skills development activities,” says Shahid Raza. “RISE will begin offering this in Kista this autumn.”
Much of the work of driving the digital transformation in industry and the public sector, in addition to greater insight, often requires new solutions to technical intricacies. For many years, RISE has built up expertise in cybersecurity and today has a leading group in the security of the Internet of Things (IoT). Other areas of expertise are cloud, software, 5G and AI-related security. In connection with the consolidation into one RISE, the specific cybersecurity expertise is being supplemented with domain expertise, and together with RISE, actors can conduct research and innovation processes in the entire value chain.
In a project with the identity company Nexus Group, the researchers succeeded in developing a light-weight protocol that will now become a new standard for secure, automatic interactions. For an IoT world with millions of online devices without their own computational capacity and user interfaces, it was a solution to a clear need.
Another area with many projects is e-Health where the trend is towards remote support and advice. This means, for example, that patient data needs to be shared in a secure way between the home, care providers and the suppliers of the platform. One current project is being done with the City of Solna as a partner in the scope of the strategic innovation programme IoT Sweden.
“This is again a question of how digital security will be handled. We need to develop better solutions than the state of the art today for e-Health to be established fully,” says Shahid Raza.
In addition to the national financing opportunities, cybersecurity will be a selected area to apply for financing in the EU’s next Horizon Europe research programme, which will run 2021-2027. A new initiative, the Digital European Programme, is also being launched, which will allocate EUR 2 billion to cybersecurity during the same period. Today, RISE is included in one of four pilot projects, Concordia, which is drawing up the guidelines for these effort.
“Here, Sweden, which is far ahead, needs to ensure that new knowledge and money benefits Swedish industry,” says Shahid Raza. “And not least, be involved and drive the area forward.”