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A New Generation of Cyber Security Specialists

Robert Hayes (centre) with Module Tutor Philippe Jan and Course Director Dan Prince Robert Hayes (centre) with Module Tutor Philippe Jan and Course Director Dan Prince

Lancaster University is training a new generation of Cyber Security specialists.

This month the Government announced that cyber crime was one of the key dangers to UK security and £500m has been allocated from the Governments' National Security Strategy to strengthen cyber security, focusing on protecting key infrastructure and defence assets.

Lancaster University spotted the skills gap in this area in 2008 and began developing a new Masters Degree in Cyber Security, accredited through the University's School of Computing and Communications (SCC).

Teaching started this month and recruitment has exceeded expectations.

The course covers a broad range of knowledge and skills to help the student understand Cyber Security from a socio-technical viewpoint. These threats could range from phishing emails and confidence tricks to fraud schemes and national infrastructure attacks.

Head of School, Professor Nigel Davies, said: "Cyber Security is one of the key challenges of our time and at Lancaster we have well-established research in a wide range of related fields including network security and user privacy.

"Graduates from this programme will help to build on the knowledge they gain at Lancaster to help ensure that society as a whole is able to respond to the new and very real Cyber Security challenges. I'm absolutely delighted that we are able to offer this exciting new masters programme."

The course is available full and part-time and can also be taken as a Postgraduate diploma/certificate. It is unique in its multi-disciplinary approach, combining modules from other schools within the University including Psychology, Criminology and Law.

ICT Focus, based in Lancaster University's InfoLab21, delivers the technical content of the programme. ICT Focus specialises in security and practical skill set training and started developing the MSc in 2008. One of the main goals of the course was to ensure students would be highly employable at the end of the programme.

Alongside the academic learning, students undertake professional qualifications from some of the security industry's heavyweights including EC Council.

Adrian Venables, a student on the Postgraduate Certificate in Cyber Security, said: "Security is a key area and there is still a skills shortage. This course covers a range of areas and links into professional qualifications. Companies will look for this and it will stand out on a CV."

A series of guest lectures are planned for the programme, started on Friday 22nd October with Robert Hayes BSc, a leading government adviser on Cyber Security and former Assistant Chief Constable.

Robert Hayes Lecture

Robert Hayes

Robert Hayes, a Senior Fellow of the Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments, delivered the lecture to a full house which included InfoLab21-based businesses.

Topics discussed included cyber warfare, espionage, crime and why this is a business not a technology problem.

Mr Hayes said, "The last thing the world needs is another set of very technically able people who will fit into a second tier business model. It's about bringing knowledge of how the business and security issues interrelate and looking at the concept of risk in a more global way.

"I really do think that the model of curriculum the MSc is running here is the way this needs to go. It is about getting people into organisations at senior level who can be trusted to make these decisions."

Tom Ashworth, Technical Director at NuBlue, added, "As an internet business responsible for thousands of websites online, the lecture was an informative overview of the challenges facing Internet Security. It was very interesting to hear that despite current government cost-cutting, more money will be channelled into defending against Cyber Terrorism, due to the threat it poses to our country."

MSc In Cyber Security

The course is available full and part-time and can also be taken as a Postgraduate diploma/certificate. It is unique in its multi-disciplinary approach, combining modules from other schools within the University including Psychology, Criminology and Law.

ICT Focus will also be delivering a range of 5-day security courses over the next few months including Certified Ethical Hacker.

Thu 28 October 2010

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