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ITMO University Opens International Cybersecurity Center in St. Petersburg

19.05.2021

On May 14, ITMO launched the Safety and Security of Critical Information Technologies international research center. Here, students will receive practical training on dealing with cyber threats while working on real-life projects. At the launch, special training was held at the National Cyber Testing Ground, one the largest information security projects in Russia. 

The new research center includes seven laboratories, where students will receive training in cryptographic data protection methods, multiagent systems, methods for designing information security solutions for cyberphysical systems, as well as solve practical tasks set by the center’s business partners. Implementing data security projects at the intersection of science and business is the main aim of the research center. 

“We believe that practical training is the central element in the education of a qualified specialist in data security. The new center offers our students the opportunity to get actual working experience before graduation, and thus ensures they have an additional advantage in the labor market in the future. We are planning to widen the possibilities offered by the center by expanding partnerships with key cybersecurity companies,” says Danil Zakoldaev, dean of the Faculty of Secure Information Technologies. 

At the launch of the new center, students took part in the training at the National Cyber Testing Ground created by Rostelescom within the Digital Economy initiative. At the official meeting preceding the launch with Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Russia, Maksut Shadayev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Oseevsky, President of Rostelecom, and Igor Lyapunov, Vice President of Rostelecom, it was announced that in 2021 such trainings will be held at five more testing grounds all over the country. 

At the training, students had to detect and block a cyber attack on the bank’s infrastructure that was emulated at the Cyber Testing Ground. The participants worked solo and the winners were awarded by experts of Rostelecom-Solar. Representatives of Gazprom, Sberbank, Roscosmos, and other organizations acted as observers during the training. 

“One of the key challenges in the field of data security is the lack of qualified specialists. At the same time, companies look for those who have practical experience, as well as theoretical knowledge. The National Testing Ground was created to provide practice-oriented training for students and thus increase the number of experts in cyber security. That’s why we are happy to welcome ITMO’s initiative that was created with the same aim,” comments Alexander Chechin, deputy head of Rostelecom-Solar. 

The work of the center will be based on three main principles: openness, practical value, and synergy of fundamental research with field-specific tasks. Students will be trained by IT professionals who daily detect and deflect cyber attacks. 

At the opening ceremony, representatives of ITMO and the center’s strategic partners presented the main areas of work, as well as the results of the current projects.

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