University of Auckland’s Cyber Security Foundry gets the green light

21 September 2017
Left to right: Professor Steven Galbraith (Department of Mathematics) and Associate Professor Giovanni Russello (Department of Computer Science)
Left to right: Professor Steven Galbraith (Department of Mathematics) and Associate Professor Giovanni Russello (Department of Computer Science)

An interdisciplinary team of academics from a number of different faculties have been awarded $150,000 from the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund for a new cyber security project.

Associate Professor Giovanni Russello (Department of Computer Science) and Professor Steven Galbraith (Department of Mathematics) say the funding will allow them to build on the work of the SECRET security lab by providing common ground for experts from different disciplines to collaborate, and generate new ideas to meet the growing challenges of cyber-attacks.

“The breadth of research and development expertise for this project is unique – and necessary – if we are to provide holistic security solutions to the increasingly sophisticated cyber security threats,” they say.

“Cyber security issues are only going to get more complicated as systems become more integrated and more personal data is collected about users.

“For instance, your mobile phone can track your location and provide the information to Google. There is also the risk factor introduced by users who open contaminated attachments.”

Steven and Giovanni say it’s become more important to anticipate future technologies and challenges, and that is where the new Cyber Security Foundry (CSF) comes in.

“By taking a fresh approach to security education, research and collaboration, we will contribute to the development of a more secure and resilient New Zealand cyber-infrastructure in the future.”

The CSF’s initial focus is to foster partnerships with key stakeholders from industry, government and research institutions by hosting fortnightly seminars and workshops, a series of short courses and networking events.

They also hope to attract and retain Cyber Security masters and PhD students, as well as those already working in the field through the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Security.

“At the end of the initial two-year programme we expect the CSF to be self-funded; to have effectively collaborated with the government to develop security policy and rules of law; to have contributed a better understanding of cyber physical threats to core infrastructures; and to have grown national awareness and international collaborations.”

Eventually the CSF aims to coordinate the activities of the cyber security research community at a national and international scale.

Members of the Cyber Security Foundry include:
Dr Rizwan Asghar and Professor Gill Dobbie (Department of Computer Science), Associate Professor Alexandra Sims (Department of Commercial Law), Associate Professor Paul Corballis (School of Psychology), Associate Professor Lech Janczewski (Department of Information Systems and Operations Management), Judge David Harvey (Department of Law), Dr Xuyun Zhang (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Arron Judson (UniServices).

The new CSF complements the initiatives the University of Auckland has already implemented under the New Zealand Government’s Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan 2015.