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2014

Abertay hosting SICSA cyber-security lectures

18 December 2013

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This week teenagers from across Scotland are attending a series of cyber-crime events organized by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).

The lectures will take place at the Universities of Abertay, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow and RGU between 16 and 19 December 2013. 3000 pupils from high schools across the country are expected to attend.

The SICSA Christmas Cyber-security Lecture series was first established in 2012 with the aim of bringing children together for an exciting session of talks on cyber-crime, led by some of the country’s foremost experts in the field.

Speakers will include some of the brightest academics in the field, along with representatives from Police Scotland and security experts from Dell SecureWorks and TrendMicro.

Dr Ian Ferguson, Lecturer in Cyber-security at Abertay University, said: "Abertay, as the university which offered the UK's first degree in Ethical Hacking, is delighted to host part of this important national event.

"Educating school pupils about the threat posed by cyber-criminals is crucial to them staying safe online, and to inspiring the next generation of computer scientists to take these courses at university. These young people will be the security professionals of the future, protecting our critical digital infrastructure.

"The Abertay University staff that will be giving a series of cyber-security demonstrations on digital forensic investigation, social media security, and password strength testing also develop new security techniques and teach our degree courses, ensuring the pupils at these SICSA events are receiving the most up-to-date expert information on this area."

The SICSA Director, Professor Rod Murray-Smith, commented: “We are keen to attract the brightest students to study computing science. It is well-known that the shortfall in skilled software in the workplace in Scotland makes studying computing a good start to a career.

"With the choice of the cyber-security theme for this year’s lectures we also hope to excite school children about the important role of computing science in making the benefits of our increasingly high-tech society resilient to natural disasters, as well as criminal and terrorist threats.

"It is great to see that every group of lectures has been a complete sell-out!”

The UK Government National Security Strategy categorises cyber-crime as a Tier 1 threat to our national security alongside terrorism and it pledged £650m in 2011 to tackle the problem. In parallel with this however, the UK is grappling with a massive skills gap, with many UK companies struggling to recruit adequately skilled cyber-security professionals.

Event organizer, Dr Martin Beaton, said: “It is a great pleasure to be touring these lectures around Scotland. We hope that by getting School pupils interested in cyber-security and raising the profile of the career through entertaining talks, we can start to address the 20 year cyber-security skills gap that the UK Government has identified.

"This year’s lecture series is now five times larger than last year and we hope it will continue to grow year on year.”

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