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Mikko Kiviharju's research delves into the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure

Aalto University’s new Professor of Practice Mikko Kiviharju thinks information security should be integral to organisations and not just another software product.

Kiviharju worked with information and cybersecurity at the Finnish Defence Research Agency for the past twenty years. Image: Matti Ahlgren/Aalto University

Mikko Kiviharju has worked with information and cybersecurity at the Finnish Defence Research Agency, most recently as a research manager in cryptographic systems. His main areas of competence are information security and applied cryptography in access control and network security. Kiviharju has started as a professor of practice at Aalto University’s Department of Computer Science in May 2023. 

The research focuses on applied cybersecurity for logistics and critical infrastructure, with an emphasis on life cycle thinking, vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning in cybersecurity. The impact of the research is expected to have practical implications for protecting critical infrastructure and collaborating with partner organizations. Over the past two decades, the awareness of cybersecurity in critical infrastructure has significantly improved, although the security of operational technology systems still requires attention. The researcher highlights the rewards and challenges of cybersecurity engineering and mentions the excitement of integrating machine learning into real-world systems.

Common misconceptions include viewing information security solely as product-based and overlooking its role in organizational strategy and risk analysis. The beauty of information security lies in its theoretical foundations, such as the Shannon entropy. The researcher is their own worst critic but values a critic who provides relevant context, understands their progress, and enables personal growth. In their spare time, they engage in home maintenance, carpentry, and various outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, running, and rollerblading.