Together, computer scientists from Saarbrücken and Luxembourg close digital security gaps across borders

Date: Tue, 04/17/2012 - 12:48

According to results of a recent survey commissioned by the Federal Association for Information Economy, Telecommunications, and New Media, three-fourths of German internet users are feeling threatened. Reasons cited include computer viruses, Internet fraud, and data misuse

Together, computer scientists from Saarbrücken and Luxembourg close digital security gaps across borders

The Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) of Saarland University, Germany, and the University of Luxembourg's Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) have recently agreed upon a mutual course for the strategic development of new and integrative approaches to addressing key IT security concerns.
"Every area of our daily lives is becoming increasingly more digitalized and interlinked. This trend is creates a number of novel security issues, specifically with respect to privacy and accountability,” explains Michael Backes, CISPA's Director and Professor of IT Security and Cryptography at Saarland University. As Björn Ottersten, SnT's Director and Professor at the University of Luxembourg, confirms, this is not only a German but a global concern. "Therefore, it's imperative that IT research be conducted on a global scale. By attacking the issue together, SnT and CISPA are able to pool their resources and merge their international contacts in order to ensure a greater impact for their scientific results."
Since its inception in 2009, SnT has consistently stressed the importance of operating on a global scale, successfully attracting scientists from all over the world to Luxembourg, a country prized for its outstanding research conditions. As has CISPA, which — in conjunction with Saarland University — recently introduced a new international graduate program in security and privacy leading to the master's degree, paving the way for a smooth transition from largely theory-based academia to practical research settings and industry. "Within only a few short years, SnT has already established itself as a leading European research site. The Centre is very practically oriented and collaborates closely with industry — with great success!" says Backes, confirming that he is looking forward to a collaboration between his team at CISPA and Björn Ottersten’s Luxembourg-based SnT. According to Backes, the two research institutes complement each other in many areas, with research activities overlapping in some. All of this contributes to making their future collaboration a very promising endeavor. Björn Ottersten is in full agreement. "Saarbrücken enjoys a most excellent reputation for international IT security research. I am certain that we will continue to expand upon this leadership potential by joining forces."
The goal of the contractually agreed upon three-year collaborative effort is to exchange ideas, conduct joint research projects, and together design and initiate new projects. Scientists and faculty from both centers also intend to give lectures and presentations on each other's campuses.

The CISPA is one of three German competency centers for IT security supported by grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The center promotes basic research as well as developing, in close collaboration with industry, security technologies and prototypical systems for practical application scenarios. A chief research focus is the design of safe and reliable computer systems and networks. In addition, CISPA investigates different methods and technologies that can be used to better protect people's privacy in an increasingly digital world. A third research emphasis is on exploring how individual users or companies can navigate the Internet in an accountable manner without compromising data privacy. In addition, the new competency center trains highly-skilled up-and-coming computer scientists to become IT security specialists.
CISPA projects take a strong interdisciplinary approach to research so as to allow computer scientists, lawyers, psychologists, and others to collaborate on research projects conducted at Saarland University. Research institute affiliates — among them the Max Planck Institutes for Informatics and Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction — will also become an integral part of the work that is conducted at the university campus.

About SnT
Launched in 2009, the University of Luxembourg's Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) is a leading international research institute with a strong focus on modern-day information and communication technology (ICT). A venue for exchange and collaboration, SNT brings together university scientists with non-university-affiliated researchers as well as partners from industry and the public sector. The shared focus is on basic science research to address the challenges faced by today's technology companies. The perspective taken by the Centre is one of tracing the future course of technological advancement, delineating current boundaries, and identifying long-term research topics.
The SnT Partnership Program allows industry and the public sector to help shape the Centre's evolution. The Partnership Program enables pooling of expertise and resources by SnT and its partners as they tackle various projects within a few primary research areas. The Program also facilitates securing research grants from the European Commission's Framework Programmes, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR).
SnT and its partners are helping to establish Luxembourg as a European center for excellence and innovation in the field of safe, reliable, and trustworthy ICT systems and services. To maximize its impact, the Centre has taken an interdisciplinary approach to research topics drawn not only from the field of technology but also from economics, law, and the liberal arts.

Above, Michael Backes, CISPA's Director and Professor of IT Security and Cryptography at Saarland University

image credited to CISPA

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