The efficacy of public authorities, the economy and our social life has become unthinkable without functional and secure digital infrastructures. This has also created a new vulnerability in our systems, which makes it necessary to rethink our risk management approaches and implement new security concepts. We must take new approaches to shape our digital future in a positive way, in order to make our systems more resilient to digital threats. Four approaches form an important basis for this:
1. Security by design and security verification tools. The design and development process of digital systems must be subject to ongoing risk management from the start. Digital systems must be built in such a way that they are highly resistant to cyber attacks. Furthermore, new standardization requirements, regulations and laws such as the NIS-2 Act on the protection of critical infrastructures (https://www.nis.gv.at/), the EU Cyber Security Act (https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/cybersecurity-act) or the UN R155 Regulation for Product Certifications (https://unece.org/transport/documents/2021/03/standards/un-regulation-no-155-cyber-security-and-cyber-security) require new automated methods for simple ongoing verification of system resilience (www.Threatget.com).
2. Use of artificial intelligence: New approaches are needed to detect sophisticated attacks at an early stage. AI-based anomaly detection systems such as AECID (www.aecid.at) are innovative approaches in this context.
3. Cyber Incident Sharing: In order to be able to react at an early stage and prepare for new cyber attacks, the exchange of data, information and insights between companies and nation states is required. Modern, effective Security Operation Centers (SOC) provide an up-to-date picture of the situation as the basis for effective operational and security processes.
4. Cyber range training and exercises: A sustainably secure operation of digital systems requires ongoing education and training of IT staff, CISOs, and policy makers, but also management. Likewise, effective security processes must be established within organizations as well as between organizations and at the national level. Cyber ranges – virtualized twins of digital systems – can be used to train in realistic application scenarios and to validate security processes and competencies on an ongoing basis (https://cyberrange.at/). Practical training and personal experience in dealing with security incidents within a company is a prerequisite for functional and effective security.
With the AIT Cyber Range, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology has developed one of the most modern cyber security training platforms for critical infrastructure operators. As a result, AIT has also established itself internationally as an IAEA Collaboration Center for Computer Security and in this role conducts cyber security trainings for operators of critical infrastructures worldwide (https://cyberrange.at/news/ait-appointed-as-the-first-iaea-collaborating-centre-in-the-field-of-cyber-security-for-nuclear-safety/).
System designers, developers and operators of digital systems must reconsider their approach to digital security, otherwise the availability and functionality, i.e. the resilience, of our digital and networked infrastructures is no longer guaranteed.
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