Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy funds research in Internet-of-Things (IoT) security at the Entrepreneurial School®
Great news at MCI: Thanks to funding from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy (BMAW) and cooperation with the Christian Doppler Research Association, another Josef Ressel Center is opening at the Entrepreneurial School®. Together with the renowned companies Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe AG and ITSEC GmbH, the MCI team headed by Prof. Dr. Pascal Schöttle will conduct research on the security of Internet-of-Things devices over the next five years. In a festive symposium on October 17, 2023, top-class speakers, partners, and distinguished guests from business, politics, and, research will meet at the MCI in Innsbruck to attend the opening of the new research center.
"Shaping the ongoing digitalization in a positive way is one of the great challenges of our time," emphasizes Minister of Labor and Economy Martin Kocher. "With its research into protecting the Internet of Things against hacking attacks, this JR Center is contributing significantly to this. All applications in which devices are connected to the Internet will benefit here, from smart speakers, lamps or watches to smart cities where public infrastructure is becoming smarter and more digital."
Physical objects that can connect to other "things" via a network and thus use jointly collected data are called Internet-of-Things devices. Typical everyday IoT devices include routers, smartphones, but also formerly "non-smart" objects such as refrigerators, door locks or toys. Networked devices also continue to gain importance in industry or "smart cities." However, given the rapid distribution of IoT devices, the issue of security of IoT devices and the data they collect is growing. Especially in smart homes, a large amount of personal data is generated that can endanger the users' privacy.
"Consumers often opt for low-cost, insecure options because they lack awareness of the devices' security. Therefore, manufacturers have no incentive to invest in secure IoT devices," explains Prof. Dr. Pascal Schöttle, head of the new Josef Ressel Center. "In addition, due to low computing power, little storage or a limited energy supply, IoT devices often cannot apply the security technologies that are standard for non-IoT devices today."
The goal of the Josef Ressel Center is now to systematically, reliably and, if possible, completely automatically evaluate the security of a wide variety of IoT devices and to enable independent certification for IoT devices. Priority is given to evaluating everyday IoT devices from the consumer IoT and smart city sectors. In addition to the basic security analysis, the security of the devices against physical attacks as well as the security of the data transmission will be examined.
"Our Josef Ressel Center is a unique research laboratory in Austria that actively contributes to positively shaping the societal impact of advancing digitalization. We are raising awareness of the risks of IoT and providing long-term solutions for security issues in IoT. Together with our corporate partners, we are helping to build a sustainably secure smart city to put Innsbruck and Tyrol on the global IoT map," says Prof. Dr. Schöttle.
MCI Rector Andreas Altmann: "Business-oriented research, technology and innovation are in a sense part of the genetic program of an Entrepreneurial School®. With the Josef Ressel Center for IoT Security, the MCI is setting another milestone in partnership with leading companies to strengthen the location."
Cornelia Hagele, Tyrolean Minister of Science, Education and Health: "Tyrol is proud of its internationally oriented universities. These play a crucial role in the joint location of science, education, and business, offer diverse career opportunities not only for young people but also for adults, and support our companies in maintaining their competitiveness."
Florian Tursky, State Secretary for Digitization in the Austrian Federal Government: "With the Josef Ressel Center at the Entrepreneurial School®, Innsbruck receives an outstanding research facility for strengthening digital competencies and for closely linked cooperation between science and business, which will have a positive and lasting impact on Austria as an IT location."
Helmuth Müller, Chairman of the Board, IKB-AG: "Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe AG is working intensively on the topic of IoT in connection with smart cities and smart communities. The IT security of data transmission plays an essential role in this. That's why we are very pleased to be a partner in this Josef Ressel Center and thus contribute to security in the IoT field."
Josef Ressel Centers
Josef Ressel Centers conduct application-oriented research at a high level, with outstanding researchers cooperating with innovative companies. The Christian Doppler Research Association is internationally regarded as a best-practice example for the promotion of this cooperation. Josef Ressel Centers are jointly funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy (BMAW) and the participating companies.