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Cyber Security Report; Research Capabilities in Switzerland

Security and the cyber domain embrace many walks of life and research subjects. A number of disciplines address themes associated with cyber security. For a long time already, questions associated with cyber security have been studied in computer science and engineering, information systems, information processing, ICT technology and automation science and engineering.

Traditionally, universities have dedicated separate departments to information technology, information processing and automation science and engineering. In addition to these, research has been intensified in big data, cloud services, usability and embedded systems, among others, which also include perspectives on cyber security. However, economics, politics, social sciences and law start to address relevant security topics as well.

Switzerland has several approaches to Cyber Security Strategy, and the major ones are as follows:

  • National strategy for Switzerland’s protection against cyber risks (June 19-27, 2012). Measures 1-8 are related to research, either directly or indirectly. Most prominent in this respect are Measure 1, “New cyber risks connected with related problems must be researched,” and Measure 7, “Establish an overview of competence building offers and identification of deficiencies.”
  • Cyber Defence Strategy for Swiss Armed Forces
  • The Federal Council’s Basic Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Federal Office for Civil Protection

MELANI (Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance) is an active and integral part in fighting against cyber threats.

The Cybercrime Coordination Unit Switzerland (CYCO) is Switzerland’s central office for reporting illegal subject matter on the Internet. After conducting an initial analysis of the incoming report and securing the relevant data, CYCO forwards the case to the appropriate law enforcement agencies in Switzerland and/or abroad. The Cybercrime Unit also actively searches the Internet for illegal subject matter and carries out in-depth analyses of Internet crime. The Cybercrime Unit is available to the public, the authorities and Internet service providers to answer questions on legal, criminal and technical aspects of Internet crime. It is also contact point for its foreign counterparts.

All of those stakeholders need access to research and education in cyber defence. With this report we have an initial answer on Switzerland’s status on cyber security research.

What is the scope of this report?
In Switzerland the freedom of each university is kept high. This means that little coordination between institutions has taken place. The funding instruments at the university, foundation, national and European level have certain coordination - each in itself - but even the various projects have no in-depth knowledge of each other.

This report is an initial step towards more transparency in the cyber security research landscape. It aims to stimulate further activities for Switzerland’s better cyber defence readiness. This goal may be achieved, thanks to ready-to-use research and knowledge capabilities mentioned in this report.

In addition to this report the contributing institutions participated in the elaboration of a fine- grained matrix of research fields in cyber security. An initial set of topics were given to the first contributing institutions. Those institutions have broadened the topics with their expertise. In a second round it was asked again for new additional topics, but there were only four new topics added. This is a hint that quite a complete list was present at this time. The matrix demonstrates an impressive capacity of Switzerland’s research power in ICT security. From about 321 ICT professors (according to the Swiss Informatics Research Association for the Swiss Informatics Society) around 10% work in the field of cyber security. Additionally, some professors of law and security policy were included. The matrix is available as a separate file.

Because both the matrix and the report are based on self-declaration, not all institutions dealing with cyber security aspects are represented in the corresponding documents.
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