University of Suffolk aims to become leading cyber security research centre

University of Suffolk cybercrime conference. Left to right: Professor Mohammad Dastbaz, deputy vice-

University of Suffolk cybercrime conference. Left to right: Professor Mohammad Dastbaz, deputy vice-chancellor; Helen Gibson, CENTRIC; Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner; Emma Bond, professor in the faculty of arts, business and applied social science at University of Suffolk. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: James Fletcher Photography Ltd

Ipswich could soon become a major research centre in the fight against cybercrime.

Academics were joined by law enforcement and business leaders to hear how the University of Suffolk may lead the way in online security research.

By 2022, more than 350,000 cyber security roles are predicted to be unfilled across Europe. But in September, the university will welcome its first intake of cyber security degree students.

A conference was held at the Waterfront building in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam’s Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Crime (CENTRIC).

Helen Gibson, operations lead at the centre, said: “Our remit covers anything to do with cyber security and policing.

“Suffolk has expertise we would like to learn from. Geographically spread resources mean we have good access to police and experts to provide better solutions.”

Among conference topics were the ‘dark web’, interception of terrorist content and community policing in the cyber age.

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University professor and research director, Emma Bond said: “This is very much about working in partnership to drive forward research and find solutions to cyber-based problems.

“We have a key role to play in raising awareness of how people can keep themselves safe online.

“It’s also about pushing the idea of behaving responsibly online.

“With CENTRIC based in the north, we can become the centre of the south – driving new research areas forward.”

As well as a cyber security degree, the university will launch a police degree apprenticeship. It is also intended that the relationship with CENTRIC will result in the creation of a multidisciplinary research institute in coming months.

Paul Maskall, tactical specialist with investigation experts Blue Lights Digital, and currently conducting a PhD in cyber security and risk perception, said: “One of the biggest challenges is getting past people’s emotional reaction to anything digital. We’re ruled by, but equally scared of these little screens. We need to make that world accessible.”

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore, who addressed the conference on Suffolk’s Stay Safe Online campaign, added: “It’s excellent we have this centre here in Suffolk, where we already have one of the country’s best cyber crime units.”