International ‘cyber academy’ founded in Edinburgh

Experts in computer security gathered at Edinburgh Napier University today to launch the International Cyber Academy.

The academy will bring together industry professionals, law enforcers and academics to combat the growing threat from sophisticated criminals who use hacking software to steal money, data and intellectual property.

The Edinburgh Napier-led academy will integrate with the EU-funded Dynamic Forensics Evaluation and Training (DFET) project, which is building an infrastructure for cyber security training and creating new training methods and techniques to support the authorities.

The university, which takes its name from logarithms inventor John Napier, will help address the 21st century demand for cyber security specialists and provide a mechanism for interaction between students and organisations.

Innovative ideas will be developed through funded PhD research, and students and professionals will learn how to secure systems, respond to security breaches and how to investigate the work of hackers.

The launch, which is being supported by leading cyber security companies as well as the National Crime Agency and Police Scotland, will integrate teaching, research and professional practice and create a platform for the discussion of key issues.

The academy will support a range of conferences, symposiums and workshops.

It will also help develop flexible training programmes with academic credits towards qualifications like Edinburgh Napier’s GCHQ-certified MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics.

Edinburgh Napier’s excellent track record in producing high quality, cyber security graduates underlines the city’s superb reputation as a centre of excellence for cyber security expertise

Professor Bill Buchanan, of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, said: “The demand for graduates in this area increases by the day, and the Cyber Academy will strive for excellence in teaching, professional practice and research.

“It is an area which requires many different skillsets to work together, and we believe the academy will achieve this.

“Cyber security is one of the key challenges [today], and it is something which will affect both our work and home life.

“There is much scope to support innovation around novel methods in computer security, and to grow the new companies who can become world leaders.

“As a university with two successful spin-outs in cyber security, we aim to provide extensive support for funding and access to entrepreneurs with a strong background in the area.

“As world leaders debate the rights to privacy against the rights to detect threats against society, we also aim for the Cyber Academy to be the place in which everyone can get involved and discuss the key issues of this age.”

Edinburgh is becoming a key hub for innovation and enterprise within computer security and the launch event was attended by delegates from the worlds of finance and banking as well as cyber security specialists.

The speakers included representatives from the National Cyber Crime Unit, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Police Scotland and a range of businesses.

Technology consultancy FarrPoint has joined the academy as an associate member.

Neil Anderson, security director at FarrPoint, said: “Effective cyber security is critical for Scotland’s national infrastructure and is only gaining in importance.

“Our economy is increasingly reliant on complex, interconnected IT systems so we urgently need more highly skilled cyber security experts to help us defend ourselves from the growing cyber threat and protect Scotland’s economy, particularly in the flourishing SME sector.

“Edinburgh Napier’s excellent track record in producing high quality, cyber security graduates underlines the city’s superb reputation as a centre of excellence for cyber security expertise. We look forward to working enthusiastically with the university to maintain this fantastic record of achievement.”