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Jarno Limnéll: Information security is all about attitude

Everyone has to take responsibility in the digital world, says Jarno Limnéll, Professor of Practice, Cyber Security. Blocking threats requires new types of expertise and cooperation.
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The Autumn 2021 Internet Forum lecture series starts on 14 September. The lectures deal with 5G topics. How has information security been taken into account in 5G development?

Security is a very central part of 5G development, and it’s also the key to reliable operation of an even faster network. It's important to identify potential vulnerabilities in 5G networks and correct them in time.  The introduction of 5G simply underlines the importance of information security.

Which information security threats are you most concerned about?

The most devastating consequences in terms of society would be caused by cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, such as energy distribution, the financial sector or healthcare. That’s why cyber threats to global politics are so concerning.

How is Finland doing in the information security field?

We have two major strengths: the level of education and solid confidence capital. Cyber security is a business of trust, and the fact that we can be trusted is a big asset that’s worth highlighting.

The importance of cyber security is increasing throughout society and in all professions. Of course we need companies that produce different technology solutions, but we also need companies that focus on, for example, cyber security from the perspective of global politics. Furthermore, there is certainly demand for lawyers who specialise in cyber legislation and for cyber security management experts.

How are universities promoting information security?

Our most important task is to ensure that society and companies have sufficient expertise and the latest, researched knowledge. There is already a great shortage of cyber security experts in Finland and around the world, and the need for such experts is constantly growing as our everyday life becomes increasingly digitalised. That’s why cooperation with companies in the sector is also extremely important.

Since politicians and the media need the latest information, I think researchers have a responsibility to make an impact in that way – to be prepared to share their knowledge and participate in public debate.

How does Aalto handle its information security?

In comparison to many companies and organisations, Aalto – like other universities – is a large and diverse community whose members come from very different backgrounds. Information security needs also vary, from using social media accounts to protecting confidential research data. That’s why it takes a lot of work to find and implement shared operating methods.

In 2019, we established a working group on cyber security at Aalto. This brings people from different parts of the university together to reflect on cyber threats, technical solutions and, in particular, how they all look from the user's perspective. This means we can ensure that information flow and communication about different matters is handled in the best possible way. Investing in information security requires support from the management, and it’s been wonderful to see how strong that support is here at Aalto.

What’s the most important thing that every citizen should understand about information security?

Attitude is everything – people have to take information security seriously. The same rules apply in the online world as in traffic: regardless of whether it’s a good or bad day, sunny or rainy, people have to follow the rules or they risk causing serious damage to themselves and others.

Providing all citizens with a sufficient level of knowledge is the easiest and most cost-effective way to ensure information security in society.

Internet Forum – Public lecture series online: 5G – what do we all have to know?

5G is here and is more than just a fast connection – what do we all have to know about the future technology?

Welcome to the Internet Forum public online lecture series. Check the entire programme here
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