Khalifa University and Leonardo to jointly offer certification and training programmes

Published: Thu 10 Nov 2022, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 Nov 2022, 6:10 PM

Khalifa University of Science and Technology and Leonardo, the Italy-headquartered aerospace, defence and security multinational, today announced they are joining forces to offer certification and training programs through the Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy, an initiative based on the university’s research excellence and powered by Leonardo’s innovative cyber-range platform.

To be located at Khalifa University’s main campus in Abu Dhabi, the Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy will offer complete certification and training programmes in English and Arabic, as well as special training initiatives designed to meet the needs of the UAE organisations. Research personnel from the Centre on Secure Cyber-Physical Systems (C2PS) will be involved in offering advanced cybersecurity training. They will put together their knowledge of the cybersecurity threats and the ICT infrastructure specific to the UAE industry, as well as the advanced scenario set-up and high-fidelity attack replication capabilities of the Leonardo cyber-range platform, to offer the training.

The academy will leverage Leonardo's expertise in the design and delivery of solutions for the security of digital ecosystems and the resilience of critical assets as well as the recent launch of the Leonardo Cyber and Security Academy based in Italy. This partnership will further enhance Khalifa University’s prime research and academic programmes, which already offer highly specialised degrees that can take students to top-rated doctorate holders.

The Khalifa University-Leonardo collaboration includes a train-the-trainers program that will enable young Emirati security professionals to familiarise themselves with the Leonardo platform in Italy before using it to deliver training in the UAE.

“The agreement confirms the great attention that Leonardo and Italy as a whole attach to the United Arab Emirates and the farsighted vision of its leadership” – said Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, who took up his duties in Abu Dhabi last month. “Cyber security is a major challenge for both our countries and Italian high-tech companies, such as Leonardo, are willing to do their part to tackle it together successfully by sharing expertise and capabilities”.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive vice-president of Khalifa University, said: “Khalifa University is delighted to partner with Leonardo, a global high-tech leader in aerospace, defence and security sectors, to support the Khalifa University Cybersecurity Academy and help in capacity building in this vital area. We believe this initiative will not only build human capital but also develop expertise, enabling Emirati professionals to remain well-equipped in cyber security and safeguard the interests of the UAE.”

“We are honoured to have been chosen by Khalifa University as a partner of this ambitious project – '' said Tommaso Profeta, managing director of Leonardo's Cyber and Security Solutions Division. “This initiative once again confirms Leonardo's commitment, at both national and supranational level, to the dissemination of a strong security culture, a primary element for the effective protection of critical infrastructure, essential services, citizens and countries.”

Dr Ernesto Damiani, C2PS director, said: “Through the Cyber Academy, Khalifa University and Leonardo will aim to contribute to the National Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence ecosystem, helping to improve the UAE’s security while promoting intensive and secure knowledge-sharing within the UAE.”

At the heart of the recently announced Khalifa University Cybersecurity Academy will be the same proprietary platforms offered by Leonardo in Italy and worldwide, such as the Cyber Range. Designed with the principles of gamification (using mechanisms similar to those of games, with the assignment of objectives and rewards for each achievement), the Cyber Range leverages both virtualisation and interoperability to simulate immersive operational scenarios.

Utilising 'digital twins' of networks, systems and applications to be protected, as well as threats and tools for both attack and defence, both individuals and groups will be able to put into practice the skills acquired to defend the infrastructure. Leonardo's platforms can support exercises with digital twins of thousands of nodes and hundreds of networks, simulating up to five complex scenarios simultaneously with multiple teams and tens of users per team.

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