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Cybercampus Sweden aims to secure digital systems

Hand on keyboard in front of computer screen
With a shortage of hundreds of thousands of cybersecurity experts in Europe, Cybercampus Sweden aims to educate the public on basic digital security issues. The aim is to strengthen society's resilience against cyber attacks.
Published Oct 26, 2023

Sweden is exposed to an increasing number of cyberattacks. The new Cybercampus Sweden initiative aims to strengthen the country's resilience by protecting society's vulnerable digital systems.
"Part of our mission is to create a new, higher minimum level of cyber hygiene in society," says David Olgart, director of Cybercampus Sweden.

After two years of preparation, Cybercampus Sweden  can finally begin to officially operate at the end of the year, thanks to the government's investment of more than 100 million Swedish crowns (about €8.6 million) in the coming years.
“Students are already working hard on ethical hacking to discover vulnerabilities in modern cars and other digital systems in computer labs at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and other universities," David Olgart  says.

Portrait David Olgart
What could be the effects of a targeted cyber attack? “Worst case scenario is that people in society no longer have access to water, electricity and healthcare”, says David Olgart, director of Cybercampus Sweden. (Photo: D. Olgart)

The idea is that different societal functions will be able to turn to Cybercampus for help with problem solving.

"The challenges we can take on are beyond what individual organizations can handle. Our ambition is to create the conditions for built-in security in complex systems right from the start," Olgart says.

According to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study , Europe faces a shortage of nearly 200,000 cybersecurity experts.

“This is why it is important to quickly start educating as many people as possible about cybersecurity. Among other things, we aim to produce easily accessible information material and short courses that are useful to people in Sweden here and now,” he says.

What kind of advice might this include?
“It could include tips on what to consider and what to do in the increasingly connected world around us. For example, does a refrigerator really need to be connected to the internet? And is a household’s security camera vulnerable to hacker attacks?”
“If a number of connected devices in a household can be easily hacked, the hijacked items can collectively cause disruption and damage to societal functions , in the context of cyber-attacks.”

Olgart says that one objective of Cybercampus is to make it easy for the average person “to do right; and hard to do wrong”.
“This applies to the entire journey from development to decommissioning of digital technologies, whether they be complex industrial systems or simple connected consumer products.”

In its efforts to create a more cybersecure and resilient connected society, Cybercampus will also advise politicians and decision-makers.

"To be properly prepared, a society needs to keep track of all parts of the digital system at all times, whether in terms of policy, international relations or technical solutions. An attacker only needs to find and exploit a weak link in the chain to launch a successful attack.”

What could be the effects of a targeted cyber attack?
“Worst case scenario is that people in society no longer have access to water, electricity and healthcare.”

What do you think is the biggest cybersecurity threat to Sweden today?
“Other nations and groups who wish us and our society ill, who want us to live in a different way than we have chosen in our democracy. Those who want to disrupt or destroy the infrastructure that our essential services and functions rely on.”

Initiatives similar to Cybercampus exist in several countries, including Norway and Switzerland. What is unique about Cybercampus Sweden?
“Our tradition and ability to create groundbreaking results through small-scale innovation. Cybercampus' national gathering and direction now gives us the opportunity to apply this ability to the field of cybersecurity.”

Text: Katarina Ahlfort
Photo: Mostphotos

Facts Cybercampus Sweden

  • Cybercampus Sweden will strengthen Sweden's cyber security and resilience in an increasingly digitalized and connected society.
  • The government is investing just over 100 million Swedish crowns in the development of the project over the next few years. 
  • The planning for Cybercampus Sweden has been led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, RISE, the Swedish Armed Forces, Karlstad University, Saab, Ericsson and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
  • Academia and organizations from the public and private sectors will collaborate in the national initiative Cybercampus and create an exchange of the government's investment through groundbreaking research, innovation and education.