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Become VU Student for a Day on 19-30 April

Studentas 1 dienai EN

We are excited to invite you to Become Vilnius University Student for a Day, the event taking place on 19-30 April. This is a great opportunity to step into the shoes of VU students and be part of online lectures or seminars. Lecturers and current students look forward to welcoming you!

You can experience real time lectures at Vilnius University and you can easier make a decision what to study!

 

The times for the lectures are in UTC+3

List of lectures

Risk Management April 19 d. 18:00                

Lecturer: doc. dr. Martynas Manstavičius

Master degree programme Financial and Actuarial Mathematics.            

REGISTER

Software Quality April 23 d. 15:00

Lecturer: doc. dr. Sigitas Dapkūnas

Master degree programme Software Engineering.

REGISTER

User Experience Engineering April 26 d. 17:00                

Lecturer: doc. dr. Kristina Lapin

Master degree programmes Informatics and Software Engineering.

REGISTER

Risk Management April 26 d. 18:00                

Lecturer: doc. dr. Martynas Manstavičius

Master degree programme Financial and Actuarial Mathematics.

REGISTER

Software Quality April 30 d. 15:00

Lecturer: doc. dr. Sigitas Dapkūnas

Master degree programme Software Engineering.

REGISTER

Vilnius University Introduces a New Era of Scientific Investigations: New High Performance Computing Cluster

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Vilnius University (VU) introduces a new era of scientific investigations in Lithuania with a tenfold boost in processing power from its new high-performance computing cluster. To meet the need to enable students and researchers to undertake new areas of scientific investigation the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of VU decided to build a new high-performance computing (HPC) cluster, replacing an existing stack that was expensive to maintain and approaching its end of life.

“One word sums up Dell Technologies and Novian Technologies (formerly BAIP), and that word is ‘professional.’ It’s a pleasure working with them. Everything happens when it should,” Povilas Treigys, Vice Dean for Information Technologies at Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of VU says.
The results of this new technology is Tenfold performance improvement since it will support new areas of scientific investigations; help educate graduates to fill the IT skills gap in Lithuania and enable areas of research that benefit society.

Lithuania has a shortage of around 13,000 IT professionals, so the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at VU plays an important role in bridging the skills gap. Undergraduates are allowed to work within businesses outside the university while carrying out their studies.

 

Upgrading to a new level of performance

Researchers and students in the faculty were using a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster that was nearing the end of its life and expensive to maintain because of the high energy costs required to run it. It was impossible for the faculty to pursue some of its research goals because the current system did not provide enough processing power.

The faculty secured financing from the Lithuanian government to invest in a new HPC cluster. It already knew and trusted Dell Technologies from using its laptops and desktops. So, as part of a stringent public-sector procurement process, Dell Technologies and local partner Novian Technologies proposed a solution.

The university chose the Dell Technologies HPC cluster because it would be simple to manage and could support the faculty for at least eight years and be easily expanded if needed. And with 10 times the processing power, the HPC cluster could run a wide range of teaching and research applications.

“Having most of the stack from one vendor will make this HPC cluster much easier to manage than the previous one. It also uses power more efficiently,” Eduardas Kutka, lecturer and HPC network administrator at VU, says.

 

A groundbreaking implementation

The HPC cluster solution provides a full stack of carefully selected and powerful hardware technologies including more than 750 TB of storage, 1,728 computing cores and NVIDIA GPUs.

This is the first time that Dell EMC PowerEdge C6420 servers have been installed within Lithuania’s scientific community. The faculty worked closely with Dell Technologies and Novian Technologies to identify the high-performance components required to meet its needs.

The power-hungry processing applications that will run on the HPC stack include neural networks, artificial intelligence, cyber security and medical research. Among many other uses, it will be particularly beneficial for cancer research programs.“Together with partners, we have to analyse medical images that contain millions of cells, which we then have to count and classify. Up until now, we didn’t have the resources for all that storage and analysis,” Treigys explains.

 

Establishing a strong research resource

The HPC stack means the faculty will be able to open up access to the rest of the university as well as commercial businesses, helping to build a research ecosystem around the university. “The Dell Technologies HPC stack will extend our scientific community around the university and could even open up new revenue streams,” says Treigys. “We can share resources and widen areas of research as well as prove our capabilities globally.”

The new HPC stack will also help attract academics, researchers and students who want to work with the most powerful and up-to-date technologies. “This is a new era of computational and experimental investigations at the university. Researchers and students will have access to HPC with GPU technologies, which means they will not only be familiar with their capabilities, but also with what can be achieved by employing this kind of technology in the future,” Treigys says.

 „Dell Technologies“ information

VU Scientists: Cyber Espionage Threat Growing

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The State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania has recently presented an assessment of national security threats to the public. It states that in 2020 there were many instances of cyber-attacks, with websites of institutions being repeatedly hacked, and fraudulent emails with fake information being sent. Experts from Vilnius University (VU) also note that the threat of cyber espionage has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. State-supported cyber groups have seized the opportunity of the pandemic to carry out cyber-attacks on national authorities, national security authorities, and energy and other strategic companies of other states.

According to Dr Renata Danielienė of VU Kaunas Faculty, one of the aims of such state-supported groups is to obtain as much confidential information as possible from the institutions of another country, business organizations or research bodies carrying out relevant research, developing new or improving existing inventions. Danilienė believes that the activities of such groups pose a serious threat to organizations using online strategic information systems.

“The attacks previously carried out by cyber groups in other countries show that the aim may be not only state or industrial espionage, but also an attempt to undermine any activity, such as the attacks during the US election campaigns. Attempts were made to break into the accounts of high officials, to publish secret information in order to shape the opinion of the population in a certain direction or to take revenge for critical statements against the country from which the attack is likely to have taken place,” Danielienė said.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Linas Bukauskas of VU Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, also agrees that there has been a trend of information manipulation via social engineering, where the electronic space of non-friendly countries is used to achieve certain goals.

“In such cases, the aim is to lure people into a trap by means of social engineering attack. For example, citizens receive invitations to events or conferences taking place in a non-friendly country, often fully paid. Those who become interested may slowly become involved in activities that could be qualified as anti-state activities – to disclose scientific, state and technological secrets. The person’s vigilance is tested by using information. It must be remembered that ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’, there is usually a hidden agenda,” Bukauskas warned.

Targets – public authorities and media sites

When evaluating reports of institutions responsible for security of Lithuania and recent cases in the media, VU researchers note that the number of cyber-attacks against Lithuania is increasing. According to experts, several elements related to cyber security can be distinguished: data loss, information manipulation, vulnerability of cyber security and the use of this vulnerability in state or critical infrastructure systems.

Internet sites of public authorities and media are often targeted. Criminals publish fake information in order to compromise organizations themselves and to form a certain opinion of the population. According to the National Cyber Security Centre at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, in December 2020 alone, 22 public sector internet sites were hacked. Most of the internet sites were those of Lithuanian municipal authorities, where fake information was published.

According to Danielienė, Lithuania is not unique – many countries face similar problems. “The report published by the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service in 2020 highlights that anyone can be the target of an attack, because hackers are looking for the weakest links, for example, an insufficiently protected device which can be linked by hackers to the cyber-attack infrastructure, thus becoming part of criminal activity,” the VU researcher noted.

Renata Danieliene asmeninio archyvo nuotr 1Human error is the Achilles heel

When assessing the cybersecurity situation, Bukauskas distinguishes the use of indirect human errors in the public space in 2020. Human errors are left in the development or installation of systems, variables are not processed sufficiently safely or weak login passwords are created. These errors are used to leak data. In addition, people’s shared files or errors in software solutions are used by hackers.

“The most common attempt is to hack in by taking over passwords, exploiting vulnerable systems to run a variety of botnets. At VU Cyber Security Laboratory we use net flow sensors to monitor illegal connections. These sensors indicate the activity of hackers and the passwords used. An automated attack is looking for unsafe systems or unprotected places left by people, checking vigilance. For example, an individual system may be subject to 200 illegal hacking attacks on average in “quieter” weeks, but there can often be thousands and more,” Bukauskas said.

In order to avoid human errors in cyber security, professionals responsible for cyber security must be trained appropriately. At VU Cyber Security Laboratory, researchers are implementing several projects developing methodologies to identify early cyber security risks and also to improve the competences of cyber security specialists.

One-off investment is not sufficient

The population may suffer a variety of consequences due to cyber-attacks: from disconnected energy supplies to stolen personal data and financial losses. Meanwhile, the companies that are hacked may be disconnected from their critical systems, their confidential data and that of their customers and partners may be stolen, and financial losses due to the inability to provide services are incurred. In addition, they may be penalized for the disclosure of confidential data, suffer reputational loss, and loss of customer trust, all which may require considerable efforts to recover.

According to Danielienė, cybercriminals, whether organized groups or individual programmers, are constantly looking for vulnerable places in information systems or infrastructure, but they also use people’s credulity.

“The analysis of the attacks shows key issues such as security gaps in the infrastructure, the lack of knowledge of cyber prevention and cyber security managers and personnel, as well as a lack of leadership competences. There is often no information on the organization’s security policy or it is not complied with and, in the event of a cyber incident, nobody knows how to respond. In addition, organizations still do not pay sufficient attention to regular training and awareness raising in cyber security,” Danielienė added.

In order to reduce the risk of cyber-hacking, Danielienė believes that organizations need to take coherent and integrated measures, implement and maintain a cyber security culture within the organization, and managers and individuals in charge must be constantly attentive to trends in the cyber world and be ready to respond accordingly by taking certain security measures. “In this world of information technologies, it is not enough to invest in infrastructure once. Today organizations must allocate funds regularly to both infrastructure upgrade and cyber risk management,” Danielienė emphasized.

Linas Bukauskas 199x300None of the system escapes attacks

According to Bukauskas, all systems, whatever they may be, will one day experience a cyber incident. According to the researcher, taking care of cyber security must be routine work, because the technologies used today do not have known vulnerabilities for now, but will be broken later.

“It is important to periodically monitor cyber security events, update software solutions, and monitor the environment as to who is interested in you as an organization. For example, if you see that you have received 1,000 queries from different IP addresses with a similar request, you should already be concerned about your security and monitor or look for vulnerable points. Cyber security professionals regularly monitor data vulnerability databases, which do not expose vulnerabilities, but only identify product x as vulnerable with indicators of compromise. They participate in threat-sharing networks, which help to obtain early information about the patterns of an ongoing attack or the characteristics of attackers,” Bukauskas noted.

Bukauskas once again reminds us that organizations seeking to avoid cyber security incidents must regularly update their software solutions, change passwords or use two-factor authentication. System administrators should also avoid using popular passwords that are easy to guess.

According to the expert, it is necessary to monitor not only the vulnerability of the systems used by the company, but also the applications and platforms used by employees during their workday, especially if personal devices such (i.e. shadow IT) as mobile phones and tablets are admitted to the network of the organization. Employees must be trained to assess the safety of the software. The applications, mobile apps or web browser extensions used for easy password storage in an organization also need to be monitored, because sometimes there is demand for excessive rights or even full-text passwords are stored in systems outside the EU.

The researcher also draws attention to the safety of mobile applications developed by technology start-ups. Start-ups should pay more attention to the safety of the products they develop and comply with the secure coding standards.

“Start-ups adapt the latest technologies, but very often forget to perform cyber security tests, and don’t always comply with the secure coding standards. The main purpose of such companies is to produce a product as soon as possible, sometimes without paying sufficient attention to the safety of the product. Young people are often involved in the development of such systems and may not always have sufficient experience in terms of security. Learning secure coding and programming techniques is a serious activity that requires specific knowledge based on experience,” Bukauskas concluded.

Arqus Twinning Activities Accelerated – Dates and Mobilities Planned

The Arqus European University Alliance, which brings together the universities of Bergen, Granada, Graz, Leipzig, Lyon, Padova and Vilnius, completed the application process for its unique Twinning activities and announced the selected participants. Vilnius University, which received the most applications out of all seven universities, is planning to carry out the first exchange in September 2021.

2021 03 17 map380x250According to Head of Studies Quality and Development Department Andrius Uždanavičius, Arqus Twinning aims to strengthen subject-related collaboration of staff and students and create possibilities to carry out joint learning and teaching activities through piloting short-term mobility schemes: “The Alliance’s aim is to respond to the societal challenges and to advance towards deeper European integration”.

During the application period, Vilnius University received and will carry out a total of 12 mobilities. The first exchange is expected to take place in September 2021 – Prof. Dr Aistis Raudys from the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, and his students, will visit the University of Granada in Spain. The team will be working on a joint research project to improve the accuracy of people counting on public transport during crowded conditions to allow for better transport planning, optimisation, and a less polluted environment. The aim is to create a joint paper on the topic of passenger counting and flow forecasting.

Other activities are scheduled for the year 2022. Dr Jolanta Šinkūnienė from the Faculty of Philology and a group of students, will visit Granada in March. Her team will work on building a body of specialised language for tourism, focussing on aspects of discourse analysis, as well as translation challenges, cultural conceptualisation differences and their implications. Ieva Giedraitytė, from the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, and students, will travel to Padova in Italy. This exchange will be intended for master degree level students, who will participate in the virtual module “Europe as a Global Actor”.

During the fall semester of 2021, other Arqus universities will also carry out different types of Twinning activities. Up until the end of September 2022, Granada will implement 10 mobilities: Bergen and Padova will have 4 teams, another 3 will visit other universities from Leipzig and there will be 2 teams from Graz and Lyon. A total of 4 activities from other Arqus universities will be carried out at Vilnius University.

“Even though originally it was planned to fund 14 initiatives (2 per university), seeing the success of this initiative, the quality of the applications and motivation of our academic staff, almost all universities decided to find more resources and fund more. As a result, 37 accepted applications will be funded: 25 by Arqus and the rest from other sources, (other programs or internal budgets). That is not the end, we still have plans to announce another call next academic year,” Andrius Uždanavičius says.

The exchanges that will be carried out by Vilnius University are blended Twinning activities. According to Uždanavičius, this is a unique way to follow the plan even in difficult circumstances, while adjusting to both physical and online activities.

“Twinning activities are expected to contribute to the achievement of the Alliance’s objectives and may vary in their mode and type. They may include joint workshops, internships, participation in international conferences, summer schools, group projects, etc. They may be implemented only physically when students from different universities meet for workshops face to face or be blended – when students from two universities are working virtually on a common project and eventually meet physically to complete and present the results,” Andrius Uždanavičius explains.

The eligibility deadline for Twinning visits is end of September 2022. Another call for Twinning initiatives is planned to be announced during the 2021 fall semester.

VU and Partners Aim to Improve the Competences of Cybersecurity Specialists

2020 12 30 saugumas380x250Highly skilled cybersecurity specialists are in demand all over the world. In more than 90% of cyber incidents an individual is either an indirect perpetrator of a cybercrime (a victim) or a specialist who protects infrastructures and has sufficient subject-related and generic competences. There has been little research to properly measure the importance of personal traits and their role in the cyber kill chain.

The project ADVANCES, which aims to improve the performance of cybersecurity specialists, will bring together scientists of Vilnius University (VU), General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Østfold University College, Riga Technical University, Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Liechtenstein, and Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. Researchers will analyse the human biological system and people’s behavioural habits and will assess the skills and expertise of cybersecurity specialists involved in the project.

Cyber Security Depends on More than Technological Skills

Leader of the project, Dr Agnė Brilingaitė, also a researcher at the Institute of Computer Science at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (FMI) of VU says that up to now no appropriate methodology has been developed to train cybersecurity specialists, or to allow for their continuous professional development. The only materials available at the moment are really only geared towards computer science professionals.

“Our goal is to attract as many specialists as possible to develop this particular approach and to develop a methodology to allow us to personalise it for specialist development or competence improvement. We will perform an in-depth analysis of people’s behaviour, their characteristics from the perspective of genetics and their technological competences,” the researcher explained.

The price of a cyber incident is leaked personal or sensitive data, malfunctioning in service provision, and, certainly, damaged reputation, and in the most extreme cases – lost lives.

“Everyone needs to be reminded that human beings are not robots. Most cyber incidents are prevented by technology controlled by specialists. However, containment of some incidents requires precise and fast use of personal skills and personal characteristics in response to the continuously changing environment,” Dr Brilingaitė added.

According to Dr Brilingaitė, people usually think that cyber security depends only on the skills and expertise of a cybersecurity specialist. But, she emphasises, cyberattacks and incidents also result from stress, fast-changing technology and external threats, when in addition to the technological component human factors are availed of to create a cyber incident.

Psychologists and Geneticists Engaged in the Project

For the purpose of the project, an international cross-disciplinary group of scientific research is to be established. The group will explore human potentials and risks in all stages of the cybercrime chain. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and their partners from Norway and Liechtenstein will examine the behaviour of cybersecurity specialists under stress conditions through a combination of data on computer science technology, psychology and the human genome.

“It is not only the scientific results of the project that will be important; the project is also significant for its cooperation with different partners, sharing knowledge, and creating added value for society. Specialists from many different fields are involved in the project, including psychologists, human geneticists, cybersecurity specialists, IT specialists; they have educational, training experience or experience of developing environments to help improve subject-specific competences,” Dr Brilingaitė elaborated.

VU is the project promoter. For this international consortium, it will contribute researchers from the Cybersecurity Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science of FMI and the Department of Human and Medical Genetics of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine.

The project is aimed at developing a science-based interdisciplinary methodology to help evaluate the generic and subject-specific competences of cybersecurity specialists, as well as the personal risks in the competence development process. Development of the methodology will be based on research of the behaviour of real participants in an international cyber security exercise.

Risk assessment, testing and educational components of the methodology will be verified by working with computer science students and students of computing-related fields. Data analysis and artificial intelligence methods will be used to process and interpret the multidimensional data.

The "Advancing Human Performance in Cybersecurity", ADVANCES, benefits from an almost €1 million grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The aim of the project is to advance the performance of cybersecurity specialists by personalising the competence development path and risk assessment. Project contract with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT) No is S-BMT-21-6 (LT08-2-LMT-K-01-051

2021-03-01

Dr. J. Jankauskas: “It is time to create added value for Lithuanian science”

Dr. Jonas Jankauskas, after almost 9 years spent abroad, is returning to Lithuania and will be running exercise classes for the students at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Vilnius University (VU) from this semester on. Recently he also has been elected to the Young Academy of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (YALAS). We talk about the career of a scientist and lecturer, as well as problems of cooperation between researchers working in Lithuania and abroad, and his future goals.

2021 02 11 J Jankauskas380x250Experience as a lecturer was gained in Lithuanian and foreign universities

"I started my teaching career while I was still studying. I worked at ISM, and later, during my PhD years, as a teaching assistant I did tutorials in mathematics (problem solving practice classes) for students of the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at VU" the researcher said.

J. Jankauskas also gained significant teaching experience abroad during his postdoctoral years in Canada. It is mandatory for early career academic staff to gain experience in teaching.

"In Canada, I worked at two universities - Simon Fraser University and Waterloo. At the first one I would teach the first course in mathematical analysis (Calculus-I), and at the second - Calculus II and linear algebra for students in sciences and engineering. So I saw all the ins and outs. For example, linear algebra lectures were given to more than a thousand students at a time. The team of lecturers consisted of 6 lecturers who taught groups of 100 to 200 students each, " dr. J. Jankauskas said.

According to the interviewee, each of these large courses had one coordinator appointed. The coordinator was responsible for setting up a course plan (the subject content and the teaching schedule) and supervising other lecturers. “In my second year at Waterloo I was assigned to coordinate the linear algebra course and prepare all the lecture material, assignment problems etc. It's not that simple and takes a lot of time".

In mathematics - already 18 years

As dr. J. Jankauskas says, to achieve success in any academic field, a systematic work and good self-discipline is a must: “I am not exactly an ideal type of a scientist. I am more of an owl type person, I like to sleep longer in the morning. I prefer working in the evening. It is very good when I also teach while doing scientific work - it helps to keep up with the day cycle and improves my work discipline”.

Dr. J. Jankauskas research area covers polynomials, matrix based digit systems, and computations. He obtained his PhD in mathematics at Vilnius University. His PhD thesis was recognized as one of the best in Lithuania in 2012, and the dissertation made into the final round of the Stefan Banach contest organized by the Polish Mathematical Society. The young researcher has published more than 20 papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

In his research, dr. J. Jankauskas does a lot of calculations on a computer: “Many hypotheses arise first when performing a computer experiment, seeing the regularity, the patterns, and then one gets an idea how it all functions. Then you have to prove it mathematically”. He also enjoys deriving and writing down formulas. “By trial and error, one observes what works and what doesn't - it's probably what mathematics is".

Having started studying at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics almost 18 years ago, J. Jankauskas recalls professors who made him fall in love with mathematics, who got him and other students interested in their topics: "Hamletas Markšaitis, for instance, was considered to be ‘an axe’ (a lecturer who is hard to a common folk), but I liked him, he inspired me and many other people so much”. “I can also mention Ričardas Kudžma for his non-standard, but interesting approach to the first year Calculus course, and Vigirdas Mackevičius for his classical, carefully worked out second year Calculus course in multiple variables and Fourier series. And, of course, the unforgettable Romualdas Kašuba – later, I had the privilege to work side by side with him at many mathematical contests and at “Kangaroo” math summer camps. That's how mathematics got me and I chose to remain in this field."

Reasons that led to the return to Lithuania

Dr. J. Jankauskas says that he had job offers abroad, but decided to return. One of the reasons is personal - the wish to be closer to friends and family members. In addition, he says he remained in close touch with Lithuania all these years, by following the Lithuanian media and news, and writing papers with his Lithuanian colleagues: “I feel that it’s time to come back and give something in return. There is an opportunity to build your own research team and achieve results here".

A member of the LAS Young Academy notices the lack of cooperation between local scientists and émigrées working abroad. He is convinced: we need to communicate more pro - actively so that we do not become alienated.

“Two separate scientific communities are emerging: the local one in Lithuania and that of emigrants working abroad. The ties between them are not particularly strong. Lithuanians living abroad have little idea what can be done in Lithuania, whether there would be any prospects or not. They create their own images of how it is here. On the other hand, there exist somewhat conservative, defensive attitudes among the local Lithuanians, there is a lack of live communication. Each side is waiting for the other to reach out first,” the scientist said.

One of the goals of dr. J. Jankauskas, as a member of the LAS Young Academy, is to establish and maintain active contacts with Lithuanian scientists who are working abroad. “The idea is to build an active community of early career mathematicians in Lithuania and abroad - and try to do things together, like organize visits of our émigrée working abroad with lectures and seminars. For those returning to live and work in Lithuania - to help orient themselves, maybe to help to write a funding application, and things like that”, says a member of the LAS Young Academy, a coordinator of the Annual Meeting of Lithuanian Early Career Mathematicians, adding that he would like as well to contribute to the revival of the community.

Graduation event

2021 01 20 Graduation event900x342

On the 3rd of February at 10 a.m. there will be a graduation event for graduates of the Bachelor of Information Technology and Master of Modeling and Data Analysis, Computer Modeling, Financial and Actuarial Mathematics.

Graduates will be greeted by University representatives, guests, lecturers and classmates.

We invite everyone to watch the live broadcast via Vilnius University's Facebook

! As we will not be able to provide diplomas during the remote broadcast, we invite graduates to choose the most appropriate option for collecting the diploma.

!! We also invite all graduates to contribute to the joy of creating a festive mood and submit your photo to display during a virtual event until the 31st of January.

Information about settlement with Vilnius University can be found here.

We invite you to celebrate together with the graduates!

Experts in Cyber Security say that it is too late to worry about the security in the event of a hack

2020 12 30 saugumas

Often, both in companies and in everyday life, cyber security is only a concern only after cyber incidents. What do cyber-attacks look like? What is the most important thing to know about cyber security? What are the competencies of cyber security professionals?

All the answers to these questions are from Giedrius Markevičius, a representative of “Check Point Software Technologies”, Marijus Briedis, a representative of “Nord Security”, Eduardas Kutka, a lecturer at Vilnius University Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (VU MIF), and the head of the Cyber Security Laboratory Assoc. Prof. Dr Linas Bukauskas.

Most often cases are where ransoms are demanded

Cyber security is a set of actions and technologies that needed to protect the data and ensure the stability of services. It is all technological tools used by the experts protect not only the data but also the legal aspects of the organization.

“Businesses are increasingly noticing that they are being spied on their plans or strategies. Data leakage is an everyday problem that exists internationally. Without following and controlling where the information goes, there is a high risk that the information will end up where it really should not be,” G. Markevičius says.

The expert says that businesses are most often faced with cyber-attacks - data leakage - and demand of ransom.

“Malicious people using e-mails send electronic files that are not only able to encrypt data on the recipient's computer, but also access other devices on the network. A message is then received stating that the data is encrypted and a ransom is required to recover it. Usually this amount is from 300 to several hundred thousand euros,” G. Markevičius says.

Marijus Briedis, Nord Security's NordVPN technology manager, also confirms that. According to him, the biggest damage to companies is caused by data theft (ransomware) attacks, which often cause not only financial losses - but also the reputation of companies and the relationship based on trust with customers.

“Often, cyber-attacks start when an employee clicks on the wrong link or opens a phishing e-mail. Therefore, employees need to be constantly informed and trained to recognize various threats and how to respond to them,” M. Briedis is convinced.

Cyber security requires constant attention

VU MIF lecturer E. Kutka points out that in order to protect one‘s data, it is necessary to pay attention not only to the electronic, but also to the physical environment.

“Many people are well aware of cases where e-mail systems fail due to physical damage to equipment or the environment. Then people can’t access certain data or perform certain actions. This is usually due to poor maintenance of equipment, but it is important to understand that cybersecurity is not possible without proper physical security,” E. Kutka says, who emphasizes that cybersecurity is quite expensive - for example, it can take up to € 1,000,000 a year investments.

VU MIF Institute of Informatics Head of Cyber Security Laboratory Assoc. Prof. Dr L. Bukauskas notes that although these investments may seem to be expensive, questioning their importance might bring inevitable losses.

“It is important to understand that it is too late to start taking care of security in the event of a cyber-attack. Therefore, the focus on it should be constant. I recommend not to forget about cyber security to talk within the organization, to allocate funds for the prevention of incidents, as well as for the development of specialist competencies,” - Assoc. Prof. Dr L. Bukauskas advises.

Ethical hackers enhance the security of systems

VU MIF researcher emphasizes that not all cyber-attacks are carried out in order to harm the organization or profit from it. For example, thanks to ethical hackers, the defense of Lithuanian cyberspace is constantly being strengthened.

“Ethical hackers are cyber security experts who do not maliciously damage systems. On the contrary, they test publicly available system functions and report their shortcomings to both the system operator and the National Cyber Security Center,” L. Bukauskas says.

According to the researcher, the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania has already prepared amendments to the Law on Cyber Security, which would define what ethical hackers can and cannot do, how an ethical hacker should report found system gaps without possible prosecution.

“I believe that these changes will help strengthen the security of the public sector and business systems. An ethical researcher who finds critical errors left by programmers or administrators will feel safe and will not face any inconveniences when reporting it,” he is positive.

Cyber security professionals need quality studies

Speaking about the competencies of cyber security specialists, Assoc. Prof. Dr L. Bukauskas emphasizes that working in this field requires good knowledge of informatics and understanding of programming languages. It is also necessary to know how different information systems work, to understand their interfaces. According to the interviewee, these competencies can be acquired by choosing an information technology study program, and a master's study program in computer modeling would help to improve it.

“IT students gain the necessary knowledge about cyber security, good network and IT management practices, risk assessment, network security and vulnerabilities. It is this important knowledge that allows to connect one‘s future with cyber security,”  said Assoc. Prof. Dr  L. Bukauskas.

Master's study program in Computer Modeling deals with the topic of cyber security in a slightly different way - students delve into general security, cloud operation by modeling algorithms and analyzing results, learn how to properly use the possibilities of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

VU MIF Informatics Institute also has a Cyber Security Laboratory, the aim of which is to create and develop a technological, virtual training platform for research on cyber security breaches and attack and defense actions. In a science lab, students can do professional internships, test software, or consult on a variety of cyber security issues.

“The scientific laboratory gives priority to practical results and solutions that can contribute to scientific and technological progress. We recommend that bachelor's students start preparing coursework together from the second year, and during them we examine the latest (state-of-the-art) aspects of cyber security. The laboratory acquires extremely important and valuable practical experience,” says the head of the laboratory, Assoc. Prof. Dr  L. Bukauskas.

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