USW at the forefront of cyber crime battle

Gareth Davies

Computer forensics lecturer Gareth Davies

The University of South Wales (USW) has become part of a Europe-wide project to train the next generation of computer security experts.

With cybercrime estimated by McAfee to cost the global economy some $400bn per year, USW’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science has become part of ICT security partnership DECAMP (Open Distributed European Virtual Campus on ICT Security), which was developed last year to deal with a lack of ICT security experts in Europe.

Different aspects of the sector are being addressed at six universities across the continent - USW will focus on applied forensics, Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) will work on network management and computer networks, Padua University in Italy will focus on wireless networking, eHealth systems will be the specialty of Bucharest University, web applications will be taught by Helsinki University, and Cantabria, Spain, will focus on cloud networking.

From the start of 2017, students will be given the option of taking online courses offered by each of the six institutions, with a virtual campus created through the Moodle learning environment, allowing them to benefit from training given by a wide variety of international specialists. They will achieve ECTS (European credit transfer and accumulation system) through the project.

“At the moment there are too few ICT security experts in Europe, and there are well-documented stories which show the difficulty of keeping up with those who want to hack into systems,” said USW computer forensics lecturer Gareth Davies.

“This strategic partnership will see the six universities complement each other strategically, with ICT security expertise in different areas passed on to the students who will be the first line of defence against any future attacks on the systems that we all rely on”.

“As an open platform, DECAMP provides a range of special features, which are novel and practical, as well as offering innovative hands-on virtual and real laboratories.

“This is precisely why the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science has placed such huge importance on ICT security for many years, and why we are part of this project to give our students access to some of the top experts in the field.”

Dr Rhobert Lewis, Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, welcomed the partnership, saying: “This partnership is a further acknowledgement of the expertise of our academic staff and will be a considerable benefit to our students.

“Recent reports of security breaches in the national media highlight the importance of this work and we are very conscious of its long-term value in securing industrial and national IT infrastructures across Europe”.

The Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at MUSA in Germany is co-ordinating the three-year project, which has been given $415,000 from the ERASMUS+ project, which aims to boost skills and employability, as well as modernising education, training, and youth work across Europe. Additional funds are obtained through sponsorship.

”With a view to achieving the best possible coordination, our international core team has already met for intensive working sessions in Bucharest, Padua and Cardiff,” said Munich University Professor Alexandru Soceanu.

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