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Strategic research cooperation on cybersecurity officially opened in Hanover

Innovative cooperation between Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security Saarbrücken.

Digitalization offers extraordinary opportunities for business and society, but in the process, it also creates significant risks of espionage, manipulation, and threats to privacy. Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated; the threat in this regard has recently increased significantly in Germany. In the coming years, strategic research cooperation in Hannover will be dedicated to the topics of cyber security and data protection. To this end, the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security from Saarbrücken (CISPA) and Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) will work closely together in the future and establish a so-called dependent branch of CISPA in Hannover. The state of Lower Saxony is supporting the cooperation on the key topics of "Usable Security and Privacy" and "Industrial Security" with around ten million euros from the Ministries of Science and Economics. The cooperation agreement was signed last year. Due to the pandemic, the official opening of the CISPA satellite could not take place at that time. This has now been remedied in a ceremony at Leibniz Universität Hannover.

In addition to Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of LUH, and Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Backes, founding director and CEO of CISPA, the Lower Saxony Minister for Science and Culture, Björn Thümler, and the Lower Saxony Minister for Economic Affairs, Labor, Transport, and Digitalization, Dr. Bernd Altmusmann, were guests with welcoming addresses. Prof. Dr. Sascha Fahl, Senior Scientist at CISPA and Professor for Usable Security and Privacy at LUH, gave an overview of the research focus of the CISPA satellite in Hannover.

"The collaboration between CISPA and Leibniz Universität Hannover with its renowned research center L3S is a great asset for Lower Saxony as a research location - and a testament to its strength in artificial intelligence, data science, and IT security," emphasized Björn Thümler, Lower Saxony's Minister for Science and Culture. "Cybersecurity and data protection are pressing challenges we face due to the digital transformation. The advances expected through the combined strength of CISPA and L3S will have very practical benefits for our economy, administration, and each and every one of us." Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economics, Labor, Transport, and Digitalization, said, "With CISPA, we are creating the foundation for lasting close cooperation in the field of information security here in Hannover. It is a great addition to our research landscape, but also to support our companies. In view of the ever-increasing interconnectivity and the growing number of end devices, there needs to be a stronger focus on the topic of cybersecurity, including within the digitalization strategy of the state of Lower Saxony. This research network vouches for that."

Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of LUH, is also very pleased with the cooperation: "The topics of cybersecurity, data protection, privacy, and industrial security are more relevant to society than ever before. Since the signing of the cooperation agreement last year, the CISPA satellite has already successfully grown. Cybersecurity in all its facets is a huge task that actors cannot tackle on their own - one more reason for the successful cooperation between LUH and CISPA." Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Backes, founding director and CEO of CISPA, emphasizes, "We at CISPA are passionate about research. We have a fervor for our ideas, we live for progress, we want the future - that is our mission. We want to make our innovations available to society and companies quickly, easily, and sustainably. To do this, we need strong partners, and Lower Saxony is ideally suited for this. The state wants to shape, and what's more, Lower Saxony is home to various world market leaders."

Research into "usable security and privacy," or user-centric security and privacy protection, is of great importance because more and more cyberattacks are using people as a weak point. For this reason, information security must look more closely than before at users and their attack surfaces in combination with the often complex technical systems in practice, as project manager Prof. Dr. Sascha Fahl explained. These are the topics that will be researched in Hanover in the future. The cooperation between CISPA and LUH is to be consistently developed and expanded in the coming years.