26 august 2020 219

Ensuring cybersecurity in Kazakhstan: the role of higher educational institutions

Ensuring cybersecurity in Kazakhstan: the role of higher educational institutions

Since the beginning of 2020, 8 thousand cyber-attacks have been recorded in Kazakhstan, according to ranking.kz. Issues of information security in the age of global digitalization are more relevant than ever, as well as improving the digital literacy of users and personnel security of the information society.

Нургуль СейловаLet us focus on what factors influence cybersecurity and what is being done to bring high profile IT specialists to Kazakhstan in the interview with Nurgul Seyilova, Director of the Institute of Cybernetics and Information Technologies.

— What, in your opinion, can become the foundation for successful implementing the idea of cyber shield?

— Today, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are not just transforming the way of specific people’s life but also society as a whole. Information security is an area of IT industry that is directly related to national security.

In  the Cybersecurity Concept ("Cyber shield of Kazakhstan") and in the "Digital Kazakhstan-2020" program, the most important role is assigned to higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan, specializing in implementing educational and research tasks in the field of information and communication technologies and information security.

— The field of IT and information development is constantly evolving, rapid changes have an impact on the  training of specialists and teaching methods.

— Satbayev University Institute of Cybernetics and Information Technologies train personnel on new educational programs of higher and postgraduate education for IT industry of the RK. Development of educational programs takes into account the needs of employers, the analysis results of educational programs of leading foreign organizations of education, recommendations of the International Association for computing machinery (ACM) on curriculum in the field of computer science and cybersecurity with a focus on industry qualifications framework (ORC). New educational programs have passed an authoritative examination, received a positive assessment and entered the unified register of educational programs.

Institute departments that train specialists in the field of information security, info communication technologies and engineering mechanics have extensive experience in training highly qualified technical personnel in information security and protection (cryptographic information security, ethical hacking and social engineering); artificial intelligence; design and creation of information systems; software development, data analysis and machine learning; in the field of engineering mechanics. The Institute collaborates with leading organizations of Kazakhstan ("NIT" JSC, "Kazteleport", LLP NPP ASKB "Alatau", Kazakhstan Association of Information Security, banks of Kazakhstan, law enforcement agencies, etc.), including in terms of implementation of educational programs for practical training taking into account modern requirements of employers.

Institute has been cooperating with Kaspersky Lab, with Positive Technologies, Falcon Gaze, Cisco companies and others. Collaboration in turn allows to improve practical skills of students.

— What are the challenges facing novice specialists, and how does the domestic education meet international standards and requirements?

— Novice specialists should be able to apply and improve the knowledge in the field of information technology and information security obtained at our University in their work activities, have personal and professional competencies and be competitive in the market.

Every year, Institute graduates are successfully employed in the banking and government structures, corporations, law enforcement agencies and organizations with which the Institute has been cooperating for many years preparing personnel.

Close ties with leading foreign universities and research centers bring education to the international level.

Our partners include Cambridge, Lorraine University; Pennsylvania State University; National University of Singapore; National Tech Institute of Calicut, University Putra Malaysia. Also, University of Bielsko-Biala (Poland); National Aviation University (Ukraine, Kiev); "Moscow Institute of electronic technology" National Research University (Zelenograd, Russia); Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (Russia, Saint Petersburg); National Research Nuclear University (Moscow, Russia); Popov Odessa National Academy; Igor Sikorsky Kiev Polytechnic Institute (Kiev, Ukraine), etc.

What achievements can we talk about today?

— The faculty of the Institute conducts research on elaborating methods, tools and technologies to ensure information security; research in the field of artificial intelligence, big data analysis.

Grant research projects are being implemented: Intelligent system of control and decision-making for developing uranium and oil deposits, Non-stationary nonlinear one-dimensional system of Boltzmann moment equations in an odd approximation under natural conditions of mirror and diffusive reflection of particles from the boundary. As well as Development of the block symmetric encryption algorithm, Structural and parametric synthesis of executive mechanisms of machines and manipulators, etc.

The research results are presented at conferences and published in national and foreign journals with a high impact factor indexed in Scopus and Web of Science databases. Scientists ' developments are patented as well.

One of the scientists’ developments was included in the international patent database Derwent Innovations Index (Web of Science, Clarivate Analytics): Aithozhayeva Y.Z., Tynymbayev S.T. Method for forming element of final fields in digital computing device, involves Performing subtraction process on Raman adder to form preset residue, and providing combinational circuits to compare residue values. Patent KZ 30983-A4. ID Derwent 2019-21474J. Code Derwent TO1. The patent is dedicated to the actual problem of information security – hardware implementation of cryptographic systems.

Under the guidance of the Institute's teaching staff, the students are actively involved in research work. Students participate with research results at Satbayev University annual conference (Satbayev readings), in competitions held by MES RK and other universities of Kazakhstan and neighboring countries, including the Republican competition for the best research work of students, taking prizes. By  participating in international conferences abroad, the students of the Institute show a high level of knowledge and skills, and receive the first-degree diplomas.

 Institute teaching staff improve their qualifications at foreign universities (Cambridge University, University of Lorraine, Tallinn technical University, etc.), as well as take online courses from leading universities in the world.

— Can you give examples of successful implementation of new developments in the production or training process, implemented or ongoing projects?

— Every year, diploma projects are defended on current topics with implementation in the educational process and production. These are works related to the analysis and development of the main asymmetric cryptosystems operating blocks, as well as the development and research of information security systems based on quantum technologies, research of technical means for protecting acoustic (speech) information, data analysis and machine learning, etc.

Effective solution of tasks specified in the "Kazakhstan-2050" strategy is impossible without creation of the state system for training specialists with higher professional education, able to solve problems in the ICT sphere and ensuring the country's information security in technical aspect. In addition, the first technical University of the country, Satbayev University, successfully implements the task of training technical personnel for Kazakhstan in the field of ICT and information technology.

Seyilova Nurgul
Director of the Institute of Cybernetics and Information Technologies
atbayev University

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