The Capital of Cyber Security in Germany: Bochum

This is a translation of this post:

With a three-pillar model, Bochum has become the most important location for the IT security industry. A development that holds a lot of potential.

Which city is Germany’s IT security capital – Hamburg, Munich or Berlin?

Answer: Bochum. What may sound surprising to the layman is no surprise at all to experts. In recent years, Bochum, a city of 370,000 in the heart of the Ruhr region, has become the center for everything to do with the security of computer data. With companies such as the inventor of the antivirus, G DATA, with innovative start-ups and with the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security at the Ruhr University Bochum (HGI), which is one of the world’s leading institutions for cyber security, a cluster has formed in the middle of the Ruhr region that does not exist elsewhere in Germany. “As a training location for IT security experts, Bochum is even number 1 in Europe,” says Thorsten Holz, professor of system security at the HGI. More than half of all German experts are trained here.

Bochum simply has everything it takes, finds Thomas Wollinger, managing director at ESCRYPT, a company that specializes in IT security for embedded systems, for example in cars. “There’s a very good training situation here, a strong concentration of experts and companies, as well as young start-ups whose innovative ideas ensure that we always have our finger on the pulse here.” Professor Christof Paar, director of the HGI, speaks of Bochum’s three pillars:

  • cutting-edge science
  • networking with industry
  • training

And he praises the “extremely agile business development.” He says it deliberately promotes companies in the sector and supports start-ups by providing advice and infrastructure and space in the specially founded Center for IT Security. Close contact between start-ups, companies and scientists is also promoted.

Capital Cyber Security Bochum
The Capital of Cyber Security in Germany: Bochum

The proximity of science and business enables start-ups to spin off directly from the HGI on site. There are now 16 such young companies in Bochum. ESCRYPT is one example that demonstrates success. The company spun out of the HGI in 2004 and now has locations in 15 countries worldwide. But even though ESCRYPT is now a Bosch Group company, reaching out from Bochum into the wider world, Wollinger emphasizes, “We like being here, taking advantage of the location and will continue to grow locally.”

Kai Figge, founder and CEO of G DATA, also sees Bochum as the right location for his company, which was the first in the world to develop antivirus protection here 30 years ago. He is particularly pleased that Bochum has earned an excellent reputation as a training location. Figge: “On the campus, you meet headhunters from Silicon Valley who are looking for new people for Facebook, Google and Co.”

Smart City Ranking

In the Smart City Index of the German IT industry association Bitkom, Bochum ranks in Germany on #18, in the Ruhr area #1.

IT-Security Startup from Bochum wins European Cyber Security Award

Congratulations to PHYSEC for making the 1st place in the ECSO’s European Cybersecurity STARtup Award. PHYSEC specializes in security for the Internet-of-Things, especially secure IoT-devices.