Our society is increasingly dependent on digital infrastructures, and as a result, cyberattacks on power grids, financial systems, and communication infrastructure have devastating consequences. Cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most critical challenges for the future. In a domain where knowledge is scarce, the master's programme in Cybersecurity provides a modern portfolio of courses fostering the cybersecurity engineers of the future. This is a new programme with the first batch of students start their studies in the autumn of 2022.
Cybersecurity at KTH
Cybersecurity is a broad and multi-faceted subject. It ranges from fundamental computing theory to software engineering, computer communication, large-scale distributed systems, and physical process control into human and social behaviour. The programme is rooted in computer science and reaches out to aspects of the business and social context of cybersecurity.
The master's programme in Cybersecurity gives students access to all courses offered by the faculty in cybersecurity at KTH. The programme starts with mandatory courses providing both an overview of the field, with a course in, for example, ethical hacking, and a solid base in the fundamental security pillar of cryptography. Mandatory in the programme are also courses that put cybersecurity in the context of ethics, law, threat actor behaviour, end-user behaviour, sustainability, and business and societal consequences of cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity is not only a broad topic per se; it also has many application domains and junctions with other engineering disciplines. To explore this range, students choose freely among various elective courses covering different aspects of cybersecurity. Students can specialise in even more complex security courses or complement their cybersecurity expertise with experiences in artificial intelligence and machine learning, critical infrastructure monitoring and control, and user interaction design. The last semester of the programme is dedicated to a master's degree project where students work closely with the KTH research faculty within cybersecurity.
In addition to involving KTH research faculty in the programme, we have also made extra efforts to build close ties to the industry. The programme has a reference group gathering key cybersecurity individuals from Swedish industry and the public sector. Many courses include external guest lecturers, and most master's degree projects are done in collaboration with companies.
Even though the programme is campus-based, it is no surprise that much of the teaching is conducted digitally. This is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (at KTH).
Career opportunities are plenty in the field of cybersecurity. Digitalisation is increasing rapidly, and with every new digital feature, the IT security of that feature needs to be ensured. There is also a vast security deficiency in older IT infrastructures running our world that were not designed with security in mind. Moreover, bottom-line security is a never-ending chase between attackers and defenders planning and reacting to each others behaviour, technical knowledge and deployed technology.
There is a demand for cybersecurity expertise in almost all fields. On the software development side, this ranges from start-ups and small companies to large enterprises. On the user side, this includes all organisations employing software systems for running their business and operations. The programme provides students with competencies for multiple cybersecurity tasks ranging from managerial positions to technical experts.
Cybersecurity is also a growing area in academia, an expanding research field with opportunities to continue towards a PhD at technical universities in Sweden and abroad. Several surveys in recent years have highlighted cybersecurity as an area with a high demand for more competence. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists cybersecurity jobs as one of the fastest-growing professions in the US, expected to increase over seven times faster than the US average job growth of 4% by 2029.
Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools for moving society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes. As the sustainable society is increasingly dependent on a digital infrastructure it is also assumed that this infrastructure is resilient and secure. Therefore sustainability is an integral aspect of cybersecurity, supporting several of United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, most clearly:
A common denominator for all of these goals (and several others) is that they depend on digital infrastructures, which are assumed to be resilient and secure. Simply put, energy will, for example, not be clean and affordable if some adversary is capable of disrupting the energy supply at will through means of cyberattacks. Competences and skills for defending against such attacks by building and maintaining secure digital infrastructures are the heart of the programme.
Faculty and research
The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at KTH hosts several research groups working within various areas of cybersecurity. The following prominent professors provides a glimpse into these activities:
In addition to all the projects run by the researchers, KTH also hosts the Center for Cyber Defense and Information Security which is a collaboration with the Swedish Armed Forces.
Infrastructure that students can get in contact with includes, for example, a lab for ethical hacking. Students can also participate in extracurricular events such as the yearly midnight sun capture the flag competition that KTH co-founded.