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Forefront of ICT security

With the dawn of the computer age that began nearly a half century ago, a new need arose simultaneously – the need for consistent ICT (Information & Communication Technology) security to protect individuals, companies, organizations and governments. This need has never been as apparent as it is today, with ICT a core part of how we do business, how we live, and how we communicate – in every part of modern society.

In Norway as in many other countries, there is an increasing problem related to identity, intelligence and property theft from citizens, businesses – and certainly governments. In the long term, this can lead to society losing confidence in private, public, and governmental systems when private data is stolen or misrepresented due to lack of security measures, routines and rules. Fraud, and other crimes are exacerbated by increased digitization, are an increasing problem for companies, governments and systems. This need provides the backdrop of the creation of the ICT cluster Security Valley.

One key to a secure future lies in understanding ICT – an intergral part of modern society. © Security Valley

ICT Security Cluster
Security Valley is the Norwegian ICT security cluster dedicated to combating the ICT security threat and looking for future possibilities. Based in Gjøvik, Norway; and covering the central and south eastern regions of Norway and well-connected internationally, Security Valley has been working systematically for nearly a decade within ICT security, aiming for the highest possible level of security environment with regards to business, academic and governmental activities.

A network cluster consisting of companies, research units, educational institutions and public organizations, Security Valley provides a basis of support related the central need for ICT security as an extremely important element of modern Norwegian society. Norway is a country dependent upon ICT, integral in communication, transportation, logistics, payments, literally every part of Norwegian life, and ICT security thus has a major meaning here.

Security Valley operations are divided into four different main areas of activities that include: challenges related to law and policy issues; technology challenges; business-related – and not in the least – to define and combat consequences experienced by the consumer. Further, the Security Valley cluster focuses on three major areas where cluster activities have attracted both national and international attention, and represent great future potential. These three focus areas are: “ID, and Authentication”, “Computer Forensics and Monitoring” and “Simulation and Modeling of critical ICT Infrastructure”.

Norwegian Minister of Justice Knut Storberget at the Official Opening of the ID Theft Self Test website. © Security Valley

International Feel
The international connection is important within any ICT environment, and as a leading ICT security cluster Security Valley has established long-term collaborative alliances with a wide range of foreign institutions, organizations and companies. A number of member companies within Security Valley have established respected international market and technology positions, including NISlab and its international working environment that represents no less than nine different countries.

NISLab is located in Gjøvik and is a complete, focused, and productive ICT security environment with more than 40 scientific works being recognized and published yearly during the past three years. These research papers have covered areas such as authentication and biometric systems; critical infrastructure; network security & cryptography; intrusion detection; computer forensics; privacy-related issues; attacks on the security of smart cards/hardware; and the extremely important areas of education and awareness. This research is being translated into potential business opportunities, and Security Valley is working with its members in making the most of opportunities.

Security Valley works closely with its international counterparts. © Security Valley

Campus Kjeller is another prime example of Security Valley’s broad contact network, facilitating the innovation process and executing commercialization initiatives from the five major Norwegian Research Institutes – NGI, NILU, IFE, NORSAR and FFI as well as from the university colleges in the region. These universities include the University of Agder, included in an EU project in conjunction with simulation of ICT crises within critical infrastructure. In addition, the University of Oslo is an active participant in legal investigations in connection with Id-theft.

Global Respect
DNV is a globally known organization and a member of Security Valley, working with clients who understand that information security is a central factor in the consistent development and success of any company. DNV’s Risk Based Certification approach shows in no uncertain terms how a company can improve security, using the accredited certification ISO/IEC 27001, the new international Information Security Management System standard. As a core member of Security Valley, DNV adds tremendous value the ever-changing security demanding global environment.

Genkey is another member with a distinct international focus, with headquarters in the United States, and offices in the UK, Netherlands and Norway. Genkey has won a number of awards and acclamations related to their innovative activities, recently winning the “Most Innovative Security Product of the Year” at the 11th International Exhibition of Security, Safety, Fire, Disaster Management Equipments and Services at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in 2008. Of 100 security products identified, 18 were short-listed by the CISF jury – but Genkey walked away with top honors for its Biocryptics product, biometrics stored as crypto keys.

Part of our Lives
Security is present in all aspects of our lives, quite visibly when regarding physical security, travel security, and other aspects of operational security. Security Valley sees these areas of activity as an important area of focus, and this commitment is well-represented by core member Idex, a company with products that include the IDEX SmartFinger sensor. This sensor includes hardware components as well as software algorithms enabling fingerprint identification and navigation capabilities within the same module. IDEX recently won the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Global Swipe Sensor Product Differentiation Innovation of the Year Award, a clear sign that leading analysts are recognizing IDEX for demonstrating excellence in the invention of new products and technologies.

Scandinavia is often associated with a very high-level of technological expertise, and the Security Valley member Mnemonic is known as being at the forefront of Norway’s security sector with a strong niche in the Scandinavian countries with services ranging from audits and analyses to investigation and design. Security Valley member Secure Allied combines local innovation and technological development with international possibilities, integrating US and Indian technology to develop solutions for their wide range of customers.

The Security Valley team, with CEO Morten Schelderup pictured on the right. © Security Valley

Working Together

The Security Valley cluster has a strong international network of contacts that continue to open opportunities, with research activities in cooperation with organizations such as Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom; CASED, Fraunhofer and the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Tecnun University of Navarra, Spain; the University of Buffalo, USA; the Netherland Forensic Institute at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; and a high-quality range of others.

Participation in international forums and networks is equally important, and Security Valley has entered into cooperative agreements with Security networks that include the German European Security Association (Gesa); the Competence Center for Applied Security (Technology CAST), Germany; Brain Trust IT, Germany and the Internet Security Alliance (ISA

Lack of information security will clearly continue to be a threat in the future. Knowing this, the country of Norway – and Security Valley – will continue to place great focus on the secure application of ICT systems for the financial sector, telecommunications, oil and energy, health, and in the public sector, knowing that society will continue to be increasingly dependent on systems resistant to break-in. At the same time, these very same systems must have a high uptime and contain correct, accessible information. In addition, it is essential that it is the right skills and right attitudes from those who develop or use the solutions. These considerations will continue to be at the core of the question of ICT security, and Security Valley will contain to maintain its vigilance on all fronts.

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