Cyber students take crime-fighting skills to the front line

Danielle Kelly and Lisa Cornford are on placement with Wolfberry, which is run by Damon Rands. Neil Gibson, May 2017

Danielle Kelly and Lisa Cornford are on placement with Wolfberry, which is run by Damon Rands. 

FEMALE students at the University of South Wales (USW) are leading the effort to halt cyber attacks during special industrial placements.

Three Computer Forensics undergraduates at USW‘s National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA), which is based at its Newport Campus, are carrying work placements with online specialists Wolfberry, which is also based in the city.

Lisa Cornford, 29, of Newport; Danielle Kelly, 21, who’s from Holywell in Flintshire, and Barry resident Emma Alford, 42, are working with a wide range of Wolfberry’s clients to ensure their cyber security skills are up to date.

The NCSA was set up last year in partnership with the Welsh Government to ‘flight test’ a course to ensure it meets the latest digital challenges, with the students working on real-world projects in the cyber security environment.  

Wolfberry CEO Damon Rands, who was also involved in designing the NCSA curriculum, said what the students have learned at USW has given them a vital understanding of what is needed by business in the sector.  

“Emma, Lisa and Danielle have the skills needed to hit the ground running when they are on work placements,” he said.

“In this industry, it is vital that those who are with us in the short-term know what needs to be done as soon as they arrive.

“Because I was closely involved with the NCSA from its inception, I knew what the students had learned and that I could rely on their expert knowledge to complete the projects that my clients rely on to keep their online systems safe from attack.”

Lisa added: “It’s been a great experience for us to work on the front line of cyber security, with a company that is directly involved in the sector.

“Studying with the NCSA has given us an understanding of what modern businesses need to do to protect themselves from cyber attack, and Wolfberry has given us the opportunity to put this into practice.”

Stephen Biggs, Head of the NCSA, added: “Cyber crime continues to pose a growing global security threat, as recent attacks have shown, and there is a real demand for highly-skilled cyber security experts to tackle this issue.

“The partnership with Wolfberry is giving our students a chance to show their skills where they are needed most – in the real world – and to gain vital experience in an environment similar to that where they will be working when they leave us.”

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