Due to a growing number of cyberattacks the demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals is greater than the available pool. The skill shortage is a significant concern for economic development and national security in the digital age.
A recent study by global IT decision-makers shows that 61 percent of companies suffered a ransomware attack in 2020. Email threats increased by 64 percent. Post-Covid, the trend is that cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the rise in digital activity with new social engineering attacks. Cybersecurity is becoming a day-to-day struggle, leaving the market depleted of available expertise.
Filling the global cyber security skills gap
The research project on AI-Based Scenario Management for Cyber Range Training (ASCERT) is a partnership between the Norwegian Computing Center, the NTNU Cyber Range, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, and EcoOnline.
- By developing AI-enabled architecture for the design, execution, and evaluation of cybersecurity training exercises, the project focus is to narrow the gap between the need for cybersecurity experts and the education of new labor, says Audun Stolpe, Senior Scientist at Norwegian Computing Center and manager of the ASCERT-project.
- We need a more practically oriented education within information security. By using well-studied learning principles and performance metrics, our goal is to promote effective, long-term learning, he adds.
Representatives from the consortium met at the Norwegian Computing Center to initiate the research streams. Seen from the left: Bjarte M. Østvold, Martin Nguyen, Harald Axelsen, Audun Stolpe, Wolfgang Leister, Muhammad Mudassar Yamin, Basel Katt, Ingvar Tjøstheim and Svetlana Boudko.
Complementary and interdisciplinary competencies
One success criterion highlighted in the project description is that ASCERT is a collaborative and knowledge-building project. By connecting methods and results from symbolic AI, cybersecurity, simulation-based training, and learning theory, the results will benefit students, the public, and the private market.
The research approach will be to use the existing EcoOnline Crisis Management solutions as a basis. An additional benefit of EcoOnline in the project is their high market share within digital tools for EHS. EcoOnline’s customer-centric approach will be essential for a successful go-to-market strategy.
- We are experiencing increasing demand from our customers on including cyber security as part of their emergency response plan. Although this is manageable using our tools today, the ASCERT project will allow us to strengthen our AI knowledge and enhance the EcoOnline product portfolio, says Harald Axelsen, EcoOnline’s representative in the ASCERT consortium.