Bachelor (EQF 6), Master (EQF 7)
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Within the NWA project INTERSECT, TNO is doing research into the security of Internet of Things (IoT). An important application domain for IoT is Industrial Control Systems. Within the near future, factories and large industrial plants may implement their own 5G network to connect Industrial IoT (IIoT) systems. These so called 5G Non-Public Networks (NPN) thereby become part of the IIoT infrastructure and the security of IIoT systems. TNO is studying how automated security techniques can be integrated into 5G NPN to protect the IIoT systems.


What will be your role?

Our digital society is becoming increasingly dependent on ICT. Moreover, the continuous introduction of large numbers of Internet-of-Things technologies make it harder to grasp the full extent of this dependency and introduce new cyber security vulnerabilities. Given the complexity and continuously evolving cyber threat landscape and the speed at which cyber-attacks occur, automation to aid human analysis and execution of response actions at machine-speed is more and more seen prerequisite. TNO is working on technology to automatically assess and respond to emerging threats and ongoing attacks.
This master thesis project takes place in the context of NWA INTERSECT project on IoT Security. Within the project you will work on development of technology and tools for securing IoT devices that are connected via 5G Non-Public Network (NPN). NPNs are private networks build from standardised mobile networks technologies (e.g. 5G) to provide network services to devices from an organisation (e.g. factory, campus). 5G NPN are particularly interesting for factories and large industry plants to connect industrial IoT (IIoT) devices. These 5G NPN make use of the new 5G technologies, such as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and network slicing. 5G network slicing enables operators to create multiple independent virtual networks on the same physical network infrastructure. Each network slice can be tailored to a specific application by fulfilling specific network requirements, such as low latency, bandwidth, reliability, and security. Since 5G NPNs are private networks, the organisation operating this network can add specific defence mechanisms to protect their IIoT devices from cyber-threats such as: stuxnet, ransomware (e.g. Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack) and Mirai. The organisation can for instance implement specific monitoring and attack detection technology, and integrate automated response mechanisms that use 5G technologies.

Within this master thesis project, you will study security functions in 5G NPN and how IoT devices can be protected using 5G technologies. The IoT security slice may include novel security functions such as dynamic monitoring and attack detection, automatic containment and recovery, and automatic vulnerability discovery and mitigation. During the project you will experiment with open source 5G core network software and develop a proof-of-concept of a 5G NPN with IoT security functions in the research cloud of TNO. This may include modifying or adding functions to the open source 5G core network software.


What we expect from you

You are working on a Master’s degree on computer science (or related) and you would like to work on networking and ICT security. You are familiar with information security, experience with programming and IP networks technology. You are analytical and you are capable of working autonomously. In addition, you have good communication skills and you are creative and innovative. However, most important is your motivation to work in the cyber security field.


What you'll get in return

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.


TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. 

At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society.