Unitec/NICT Initiative will create new opportunities in cyber security research and training
02 October 2012
A partnership between Unitec and The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently confirmed a three-year cybersecurity initiative to be developed between the two institutions. The launch of the new research facility was held on the 27th of September at Unitec, Mt Albert.
This international venture aims to address the need for research in cybersecurity, an increasingly important field given the rapid growth in usage computers, and of the internet.
Governments are responding to perceived cyber security threats to themselves, the business community, and their citizens by developing strategies and initiatives to combat these threats. Internet users are sometimes oblivious to the dangers of increased usage, as attacks occur rapidly. With the Norton Report on Cybercrime suggesting that 72% of adults in Australasia were victims of cybercrime, individuals need to be both informed and protected. There is also a need to protect New Zealand’s vulnerable infrastructure assets such as the financial, transportation and electricity sectors. With the development of the research facility, Unitec will research ways to help prevent future attacks. It will help create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment for New Zealand.
Dr Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Unitec’s Head of the Department of Computing, wants Unitec to become New Zealand’s hub for cyber security. “There are two targets - one is that we want to become the hub in cyber security, and the second is to educate highly productive talent in an area where more jobs are, and to fill the gaps in an area where we feel our country could be vulnerable,” says Dr Sarrafzadeh. With a worldwide skill shortage in cyber security there are jobs available but not enough qualified people. The centre will provide advanced and up-to-date training and education for students wanting to pursue a career in cyber security. The centre will also allow students to gain hands-on experience with working on a number of current cyber security projects.
The centre will be modelled on Japan’s headquarter centre and will have technology which will monitor cyber traffic coming in and out of New Zealand. The two centres will share their data and information in order to help analyse and control the situation of cyber attacks.
“The Washington Post recently suggested that if you want job security, look at cyber security as a profession,” says Dr Sarrafzadeh. “I think cyber security is very strategic, not just for the country but for the world. It keeps us safer, and it’s an area where the jobs will be”.
The collaboration between Unitec and NICT aims to increase awareness with the public about the risks of going online, to develop and maintain a globally competitive cyber security workforce, and to encourage and engage people to become interested in science, technology and cyber security.