Experts in the UK's largest cyber security research lab at Queen's University Belfast are joining forces with their colleagues in Lancaster University to wage a new war on the type of cyber crime which is costing the UK at least £27bn a year.
The new partnership between Queen's and Lancaster will produce the UK's biggest ever group of creative and innovative cyber security researchers.
Currently, the economic cost of cyber crime globally is estimated to be between $250 billion to $1 trillion per year, while the UK cyber crime total is made up of £21bn of costs to businesses, £2.2bn to government and £3.1bn to citizens.
Addressing the serious lack of highly qualified cyber security personnel will be one of the main aims of the new collaboration between the universities, both of which have been declared Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.
The new alliance, which has been formalised with the signing of a memorandum of understanding, will also share resources, ideas, knowledge and discoveries in the fast-moving research field. Experts will address some of the key threats to security, including responding to unanticipated cyber threats, securing mobile and embedded infrastructures, coping with the fluid nature of online identity, cyber security behaviours and secure communications.
The work at Queen's will take place in its Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK's lead university centre for cyber security research and an innovation and knowledge centre (IKC). Staff at the centre have already pioneered the Internet Traffic and Content Analysis engine (ITACA), a software and hardware platform for real-time analysis of IP network trafﬁc links and lightweight Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs), the next generation of anti-counterfeiting technology.
Speaking about the opportunities arising as a result of the new partnership, Dr Godfrey Gaston, Director of CSIT, said: "At CSIT we are solving some of the world's biggest cyber security challenges of both the present and the future, as well as creating a dynamic environment that fosters entrepreneurship. It is core to our thinking that research needs to be multi-disciplinary and is informed by industry to ensure maximum potential for impact on commercialisation and implementation. This new partnership will complement our expertise and open up new opportunities for our industrial partners in terms of technology and access to an even broader cyber security research base."
Over the last decade Lancaster University has made significant contributions in security research, from tackling online crime to the impact of domestic violence and abuse in vulnerable groups and helping eye witnesses in interview settings.
Lancaster University's new centre dedicated to security and protection science called Security Lancaster was opened this October by the former Minister for State Security and Counter Terrorism The Rt Hon Baroness Neville-Jones DCMG.
Professor Awais Rashid is Co-Director of Security Lancaster. He said: "Cyber security is an area that presents major challenges to the security of the UK and the world. Currently, there is a serious lack of highly qualified cyber security personnel and this skill gap is widening at a fast pace given the increasing number and variety of cyber threats aimed at individuals, organisations and infrastructures. This is an exciting partnership that will enable us to develop future leaders in cyber security - not only capable for world class research but also able to play a leading role in in industry and policy-making bodies."
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