New Zealand’s first cyber security lab will be opened at the University of Waikato on Tuesday, coinciding with the launch of a new qualification, the Master of Cyber Security degree.
The lab, dubbed CROW (Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato), will focus on returning control of data to data owners by focussing on research addressing data security from a user-centric perspective. It will develop innovative solutions to allow users to know what happens to their data, particularly when it is stored in a cloud environment.
With the increasing dependence on information technology and the global rise of cyber security threats, the launch addresses a growing need to train skilled and ethical cyber security professionals and develop new technology to protect New Zealand's critical infrastructure and economies.
The lab has a large-scale cloud computing test bed for realistic testing and verification of its tools and senior lecturer Dr Ryan Ko says it will run along six themes: provenance; user-centricity; security visualisation; security economics; hardware security and tools and datasets.
It will also contribute to teaching New Zealand’s first Master of Cyber Security degree, subject to approval by Universities New Zealand CUAP (Committee on University Academic Programmes).
Dr Ko says while many people study computer science and software development, there is a growing need for more cyber security specialists.
“I think, especially in New Zealand, there is a lack of mainstream education on cyber security so our aim is to train ethical security professionals. There is a lack of such training at university level.”
Data privacy and accountability are new areas of research and study which will grow over time and cyber security experts were highly sought after, Dr Ko says.
“Data security education is still a fledgling area and a good area for the University to get into early. We want to be one of the top cyber security regional hubs in the Asia/Pacific region in five years.”
Dr Ko is an acknowledged expert in cloud computing security and last year received the Ron Knode Service Award for his volunteer work with the not-for-profit Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). He has been involved in cloud computing from the earliest days, working for HP's Cloud and Security Lab from 2010 to 2012, volunteered as a research director for the Singapore chapter of the CSA and is founder of the CSA Cloud Data Governance Working Group.