Finland's Cybersecurity: A Researcher's Insight

Cybersecurity Without Borders

The development and research of technology are inherently collaborative at the international level, and this holds true for cybersecurity-related technologies as well. The international sharing of intelligence on vulnerabilities, attack vectors, and cybercrime activities is crucial for enhancing security measures. Stakeholders in such exchanges encompass private entities, official bodies, NGOs, and even individuals and cybersecurity experts.
Sormet kannettavan tietokoneen näppäimistöllä

Many of cybersecurity's challenges are undeniably global. Our devices, applications, and platforms are the creations of international enterprises and supply networks, suggesting that a vulnerability found in Finland could pose issues elsewhere. Conversely, cyber attacks impacting us may stem from vulnerabilities initially originating from other nations.

For Finland, maintaining a leading position in cybersecurity is vital. It allows the nation to not only advance technologically but also to influence cross-border policies, such as those at the EU level, to enhance national and global cyber resilience.

6G and Cybersecurity

Addressing cyber threats requires a blend of legacy and innovation. Emerging technologies like quantum-safe encryption are essential to address issues beyond the reach of current strategies, ensuring secure communications even against the backdrop of advancing quantum computing. Likewise, past lessons in cybersecurity are applicable to new domains, such as within the forthcoming 6G networks and devices.

"At the University of Oulu, we are at the helm of several projects targeting cybersecurity improvements," says Halunen. "Our team is engaged in the security of critical systems—a significant research focus for us. We are also conducting research on security verification for IoT devices and on testing the robustness of AI systems. Forthcoming projects will investigate quantum-safe encryption and the security protocols for its deployment. Furthermore, as part of an emerging consortium, we are striving to enhance international cybersecurity intelligence collaboration."

Oulu is recognised as a dynamic hub of cybersecurity expertise, which is integral to both academia and the corporate sector and is a foundational element of 6G research.

Facing the Challenges

A significant hurdle in cybersecurity is the pace of digitalisation, which outstrips the progression of security measures, leaving a trail of vulnerable targets in its wake.

The cybersecurity of innovative technologies, particularly quantum computing and AI, is behind conventional IT security. These fields, in conjunction with 6G security, require significant investment to cope with the modern threat landscape.

"With the standardisation of post-quantum cryptography nearing its final stages, integrating these technologies into our systems presents a considerable challenge," Halunen notes. "They differ markedly from traditional encryption methods. Transitioning to these new systems demands thorough planning and a widespread understanding among organisations and enterprises. While quantum computing doesn't pose an immediate threat to current encryption, the impending regulatory and market-driven push towards these technologies will likely prompt a faster transition, bringing a host of challenges and extensive work."

"Nevertheless," Halunen concludes, "these challenges represent opportunities. Those proficient in managing this shift are set to emerge as leaders in the future digital economy, harnessing both strategic influence and commercial prospects."

The text was originally published in 6G Waves Magazine 12 Dec, 2023.


Kimmo Halunen
Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems
University of Oulu

Kimmo Halunen holds a joint professorship in Cybersecurity at the University of Oulu and the National Defence University.