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Kristina Kliebenstein

Exciting Insights at the Airbus CISPA Day

At a joint event on November 30th, 2022, CISPA researchers and Airbus experts provided exciting insights into research at CISPA and the work of one of the largest aerospace companies in the auditorium of Saarland University. In addition to information about the recently announced partnership between Airbus and CISPA, visitors were also offered to participate in interactive displays.

In June 2022, Airbus Defence and Space and the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security agreed to establish a competence center for cybersecurity and trustworthy artificial intelligence. The Airbus-CISPA Digital Innovation Hub will be located at the CISPA Innovation Campus in St. Ingbert. At the Airbus-CISPA Day in the auditorium of Saarland University, students and researchers were able to learn about the collaboration and emerging career opportunities.

In the foyer of the auditorium, visitors were welcomed with an information film about CISPA. In the hall, CISPA researchers gave interested visitors insights into their research areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), hardware and industrial security. Visitors were also able to virtually fly a drone, solve mysteries in the Escape Room of the CISPA Cysec Lab or test out the Airbus' Cyber Range, a simulation platform for cyber attacks. Many interested students from diverse disciplines took advantage of the opportunity to get in contact with the researchers and experts present.

In the afternoon keynote speeches, CISPA faculty Prof. Bernd Finkbeiner and Evert Dudok, Executive Vice President Connected Intelligence at Airbus Defence and Space, shared their perspectives on the partnership. "CISPA is growing continuously and is taking a logical next step by partnering with Airbus," Finkbeiner said. He emphasized that the research at CISPA is moving into industrial application and value creation through collaboration, and also that the partnership will create numerous jobs in the long term at the CISPA-Airbus Digital Innovation Hub. In his keynote, Evert Dudok highlighted the great importance of trusted information and deep research for Airbus. According to Dudok, the CISPA-Airbus partnership "bridges academic knowledge to the needs of our customers and society."

Following the keynotes by Finkbeiner and Dudok, Airbus experts Cora Perner and Markus Neumaier spoke about their work. Perner, R&T Coordinator Cybersecurity, gave an insight into the research departments of Airbus. Aircraft and spacecraft contain highly complex computer systems. Ensuring that these are and remain secure is a major task, according to Perner. Her colleague Markus Neumaier fights hackers across Europe as an incident responder at Airbus. An incident responder is more or less an IT security firefighter and mainly takes care of supply chain security. In his presentation, he showed what kind of threats to data security exist and how basic research in cybersecurity can make Airbus systems secure.

CISPA faculty Dr. Rebekka Burkholz and Dr. Michael Schwarz then took the stage. Rebekka Burkholz conducts research in machine learning (ML) and showed how artificial intelligence can be used in various areas, including Airbus drones. CISPA faculty Dr. Michael Schwarz works on hardware vulnerability. His research focus is on system security and looks at the interface of hardware and software. Research into both components provides greater security for all systems in which computers are used, such as in aircrafts.

In addition to the information event in the auditorium of Saarland University, experts from Airbus and researchers from CISPA exchanged ideas on joint research fields. Bernd Finkbeiner concluded: "Airbus is a future-oriented company that is already thinking about the technologies that will be important decades from now. This is an excellent match for fundamental research at CISPA. We look forward to working together."