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EU-funded consortium aims to balance cybersecurity views

The EU-funded CANVAS consortium is being backed by European cyber security provider F-Secure and ten other European partners in response to concerns that efforts to secure digital infrastructure and data may come at the expense of European rights and values.

According to Dr. Markus Christen (above), senior research fellow and CANVAS project coordinator, University of Zurich, CANVAS will benefit these initiatives, and the continent as a whole, by helping stakeholders balance cyber security with other needs. “Cyber security is becoming more important as people and societies are relying more on digital infrastructure than ever before,” said Dr. Christen. “But at the same time, it’s important that we avoid burning the village in order to save it. Values like autonomy, privacy and equality need to be maintained while we’re securing systems and data, and CANVAS will work with people, companies and policy makers to help them balance these interests.

CANVAS (Constructing an Alliance for Value-driven Cyber Security) brings together participants from various scientific traditions and fields to structure and disseminate research regarding the ethical, legal, empirical and technological issues related to cyber security. It aims to create resources that inform policy makers, experts and the public on the development of cyber security technologies and policies that offer security without sacrificing emerging needs, such as basic access rights.

“Right now everyone’s struggling to secure digital assets,” said Sean Sullivan, security advisor, F-Secure. “Doing nothing is not an option given the capabilities of today’s attackers, but at the same time, being too heavy handed harms innocent people and companies looking to make the most out of new technology. Governments, companies and the public are coming to the European cyber security industry with questions about how to make security both effective and practical for their needs, and CANVAS is going to help us get answers to the people that need them.”

F-Secure will play an integral role in CANVAS by helping the group obtain expert opinions from the cyber security industry, and share insights generated by the consortium with other industry experts. F-Secure will also lead an international workshop to discuss the current security challenges facing businesses, and provide expertise on the creation of resources (including a training curriculum and an open online course) on behalf of the cyber security industry.

The project, which has obtained three years of funding from the European Union and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, begins amidst a flurry of new cyber security initiatives in Europe, including the European Commission’s recently announced 1.8 billion euro contractual public-private partnership*, as well as new legislation such as the Network and Information Security (NIS) directive.