Project started to make cyberdefense for public and private infrastructure

Tartu University
Tartu University Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

The Estonian Research Council has launched a project in applied research aimed at creating the first virtual cyberdefense environment embracing Estonia's public and private sector systems.

It would be the first environment in the world created for a state, whose aim is comprehensive protection of the critical digital infrastructure of the public and private sectors. 

The two-year project in the simulation of critical information infrastructure protection on a cyber training ground is based on terms of reference set out by the Ministry of Defense and the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA).

The party to conduct the applied research is a consortium led by the University of Tartu, bringing together also the company CybExer Technologies OU, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE), Thinnect OU and Elisa Eesti AS.

Critical information infrastructure is an asset or a system necessary for the performance of vitally important functions. A good example of it is data exchange that affects the functioning of power supply networks or data communication services. An attack against it may jeopardize the functioning of healthcare, safety, security, as well as people's economic and social wellbeing.

Andri Rebane, project manager at the department for defense investment at the Estonian Ministry of Defense, said: "Seamless functioning of critical information infrastructure is a part of comprehensive national defense. Where the cyber training ground of the defense forces enables to simulate situations of danger directly having to do with the field of defense, the aim of the digital environment to be created as part of this research is to rehearse and explore ensuring the security of data systems functioning in the civilian environment and play through responding to the impacts of situations of danger."

The head of the consortium, Mario Maeots from the University of Tartu, said that matters related to the security of cyberspace require ever more attention from us and put the society face to face with increasingly complex challenges. He said that the main task of the project is to contribute to ensuring Estonia's cybersecurity in collaboration with scholars and practitioners.

Aare Reintam, representative of CybExer Technologies OU, described the project as unique in the world to date, and public-private cooperation as its big asset. 

"In the cyber world all systems are intertwined and a domino effect is easy to emerge. Unfortunately, the impact of digital attacks is expressed in the real world, and in order for us to be able to be a step ahead of the evildoers in vital areas, preparations made in collaboration are vitally important," Reintam said.

The budget of the research is €1.13 million and results are expected by the end of 2021. Financing for the program is provided by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian government.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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