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Limes Academy

Thomas Brandstetter – From Mr. Stuxnet to OT Security Trainer at Limes Academy

By 16. May 2022No Comments

„Help people to help themselves“ was the motto of Thomas Brandstetter and Peter Panholzer when they founded Limes Security nine years ago. In addition to consulting and assessments, Limes Security offers 17 different training courses in the areas of OT Security and Secure Product & Software Development through the Limes Academy. As a trainer at Limes Academy, Brandstetter wants to change the industry in the long run. Because only by establishing know-how can companies remain capable of action and deal professionally with dynamic cybersecurity threats.

Sustainable security in industry

Sustainable security in manufacturing cannot be achieved through technology alone; it must be established by increasing cybersecurity expertise within the organization. Technical fixes to industrial products and solutions provide important but often only short-term remedies. In industrial operations, therefore, more long-term strategies and consequent changes in the organization are needed to make processes more secure. After almost 20 years of working in the field of OT Security, Thomas Brandstetter is certain that this can be achieved mainly by increasing the knowledge of those people who ensure that industrial plants are developed or operated.

Building bridges between industry and cybersecurity

Thomas Brandstetter sees himself as a bridge builder between industry and cybersecurity. He was the founder and former head of the Siemens ProductCERT. As a former incident handler of Stuxnet at Siemens in 2010, he learned from his own experience how difficult a lack of security structures can make it to deal with unexpected incidents.

I wanted to ensure that no one would experience the same situation as I did back then, where organizational structures had to be set up under great pressure in the face of the incident in order to be able to handle it well. Therefore, building up competence in the area of Industrial Cyber Security or Operational Technology (OT) Security, is important for industrial component manufacturers, system integrators and plant operators. Only by acquiring expertise can companies become capable of acting before threats occur and thus gain the ability to deal with them in a professional manner. This applies both to the plant operator, who must detect incidents during operation, and of course also to the manufacturer and integrator, who must take care of the appropriate handling of security vulnerabilities.

Teaching at universities

When looking for employees, Brandstetter went to the University of Applied Sciences in St. Pölten in 2012. Brandstetter’s expertise in the area of industrial cybersecurity was soon addressed in their conversation, and the academic teaching activities at University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten began, and have continued to this day. In addition to his work at the Department of Computer Science & Security at the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten, Brandstetter also taught guest lectures at the University of Passau and the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg. He also received an honorary professorship at the DeMontfort University in England, where he regularly contributes to the Cyber Technology Institute.

Various experiences have shown that it is good to continue establishing know-how in the area of OT security in the industry:

In an in-house training session at a major automotive manufacturer, honeypots were discussed. When I asked whether anyone not only knew about honeypots but also used them, I was surprised to hear someone actually speak up. It was a former student of mine. He found the topic so exciting in the elective course at the university that he decided to roll out honeypots in the corporate environment of his company.

Limes Academy Curriculum

Since his first training together with co-founder Peter Panholzer nine years ago, a lot has happened. Limes Academy now offers 17 different trainings in the areas of OT Security and Secure Product & Software Development. Brandstetter and his fellow trainers are experts who excel through specialized training and years of security consulting experience. Through the TÜV Austria Academy, Limes Academy offers personal certificates in the area of OT Security.