Stjepan Picek

A brand new Master Study about AI and cybersecurity combined

Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can no longer be seen apart from cybersecurity. Stjepan Picek finished his double Ph.D. on the topic of cybersecurity and AI (at Radboud University and the University of Zagreb, Croatia). Since October 2021, he has been working as an Associate Professor at Radboud University. As of September 2023, a new Master's Study about digital security combined with AI will start at Radboud University. Stjepan Picek is the coordinator of this program. He informs us about the content of this new study and tells us why the world needs more experts in this area.

New Master Studies

Stjepan Picek, foto door Linda Verweij

According to Stjepan Picek, Radboud is a well-recognized University in the cybersecurity domain. Nowadays, the topics of AI and digital security are more important than ever. There is much artificial intelligence in modern cybersecurity. However, the current curriculum at Radboud University is still oriented towards either cybersecurity or AI. Stjepan Picek: ‘At this moment, students pick up some bits and bytes of AI, but they mainly focus on cybersecurity.

On the contrary, there is a strong AI department here, based on Machine Learning. They focus on AI and less on security. Therefore it became reasonable to offer the students the best of both worlds. In our new Master’s Program, we combine a selection of courses in AI and cybersecurity. We encourage the student to approach both topics from a different angle.’ Stjepan Picek is now working hard on the curriculum, which will start simultaneously with the new academic year.

Cybersecurity and AI: always together

Cybersecurity is a huge domain consisting, for example, of systems security, network security, and cryptography, which is a specialty at Radboud University. Stjepan Picek: ‘Cybersecurity cannot exist without AI anymore. Anti-malware, anti-virus, anti-spam: it is all about those two. In the past, when there was a threat trying to infect computers, it was relatively easy to recognize and diminish. Nowadays, the virus and other threats are getting smarter and changing continuously because of AI. The most powerful attacks are now made by AI. Many of the things we do here are based on offensive security. This means that we evaluate our security of systems by mounting the most powerful attacks possible. And those powerful attacks are also mostly based on Artificial Intelligence.’

Stjepan Picek, foto door Linda Verweij

Why is the new Master’s Program so important?

‘I’m happy about the new program, we listened to the students’ wishes, and they can start exploring new trends and threats. When they finish the study, the students will be experts in an extremely important domain. Both research and industry wise.’ Universities and companies are always looking for human knowledge in this technological and innovative area. Thereby, Stjepan Picek sees an interesting change in focus: ‘Nowadays it is not only about what AI can do for cybersecurity, but also what cybersecurity can do for AI. AI is used everywhere, and in all of those places security is important. For example, in hospitals. AI is used in treatments, the challenge is how to make sure the data are correct, and the patients are secure and safe. Thus the new question is: how can we maintain the security and privacy of AI? This will be one of the topics we will be teaching, and we are the first university in The Netherlands that integrates this in its curriculum.’

Gepubliceerd op
23 december 2022
Joep Peters
Linda Verweij
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