I’m a cyber security lecturer with a PhD in Digital Forensics and Information Visualisation.
My research interests include:
• Internet of Things (IoT) security
• software development
• visualisation of digital forensic datasets.
I’m interested in the security of internet-connected household devices and how these can impact upon our lives - for example the privacy risks that can stem from security flaws in poorly coded devices. My work looks at how we can improve security through knowledge sharing between the software development and security communities, and through the development of more secure coding practices.
My previous work has included providing technical and security input to the iAge project which looked at e-inclusion in an aging Europe.
I have previously presented talks at British Council events in South Korea and Hong Kong, on the current state of cyber security and privacy risks from home devices. I also give talks every year at the Cyber Security Christmas Lectures. These aim to introduce cyber security to school children and show how it can be an interesting career path.
CMP110 - Introduction to Security (Module Tutor)
CMP206 - Programming For The User (Co-Delivered)
CMP308 - Professional Project Planning and Prototyping (Co-Delivered)
CMP311 - Professional Project Development and Delivery (Co-Delivered)
CMP406 - Enterprise System Engineering (Co-Delivered)
CMP414 - Web Futures (Co-Delivered)
ELE005 - Defence Against The Dark Arts (Co-Delivered)
Gavin has research interests in the following areas:
Internet of Things Security - Many common household devices are now being connected to the internet, and newly developed devices are also being introduced into people's homes. In a number of cases, these devices can have security flaws which can compromise the privacy of the owners, or can be subverted to be used as a means to attack other systems. Gavin is interested in ways in which the general security of these devices can be improved.
Secure Software Development - Too often, the areas of computer security and software development are regarded separately with minimal consideration for the other. However, a large number of security flaws are cause by poor software development practices. Gavin is interested in examining pedagogical methods to inform software developers about secure software development practices. It is hoped that by doing so, this can reduce the number of security flaws found in poorly coded application and devices.
Visualisation of Digital Forensic Datasets - Building on work from his PhD research, Gavin is interested in how the datasets gained during a Digital Forensics investigation can be visualised in a way which assists the investigator. Often, the data gleaned from a Digital Forensics investigation is displayed in a textual format, which does not lend itself to efficient processing by a person. Humans can process visual information much more rapidly, and it is hoped that by displaying this information in a visual way, the efficiency of these investigations can be increased in an attempt to combat the ever increasing workloads faced by the investigators.
Hales, G. 2017. Visualisation of device datasets to assist digital forensic investigation. in Proceedings of the International Conference On Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics And Assessment- CyberSA. London. IEEE.
Hales, G. 2016. Assisting digital forensic analysis via exploratory information visualisation. PhD, Abertay University, https://rke.abertay.ac.uk/en/studentTheses/assisting-digital-forensic-analysis-via-exploratory-information-v.
Hales, G.A., Ferguson, R.I. and Archibald, J.M., On the use of hyperbolic visualisation to assist digital forensic analysis, in Cyberforensics Perspectives (Weir, G.R.S & Daley, M. eds.) University of Strathclyde Publishing 978-0-947649-97-5, 2013, pp107-113
Hales, G., Ferguson, R.I., Archibald, J., On the use of data visualization techniques to support digital forensic analysis: A survey of current approaches, Proc. of Cyberforensics 2012, University of East London, May 2012
SICSA Prize Studentship 2011 - circa £54k
Gavin participated in an EU INTERREG project, iAge, looking at e-inclusion in an aging Europe, and specifically provided a technical and security input to the project. The iAge project took place between 2012 and 2014.
Gavin has presented multiple times at the annual SICSA Cyber Security Christmas Lectures. These lecturers are aimed at high school aged children and aim to teach them about the current issues in Cyber Security, and how these issues affect their everyday lives.
In August 2017, Gavin presented talks at British Council events in both South Korea and Hong Kong. These talks engaged with the public to inform them about the current state of Cyber Security, and to provide an understanding into the potential career paths which are available in the field of Cyber Security. The talks looked specifically about IoT devices in the home and how these can be a risk to privacy without the owner ever being aware.