Dr Ian Ferguson

Senior Lecturer

School School of Design and Informatics

Department Division of Cyber Security

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8207


  • 1984 - 1988    Sunderland Polytechnic.  BSc Hons Combined Studies in Science (Computing Science and Applied Physics).
  • 1992 - 1998    University of Sunderland.  PhD - thesis entitled "An Investigation into MetaCASE and Object Orientation".
  • 1996 - 1998    University of Sunderland:  CERT.Ed (HE) Certificate in Education - (Higher Education).
  • 1988 - 1991    Development Engineer.  Saxon Micro Ltd - Newmarket.  Involved with the development of hardware and software for medical technology.  Included work on robotic micro-manipulators, genetic fingerprint analysis and image processing.
  • 1991 - 1992    Project Engineer.  Enstec Consultants - Cambridge.  Worked as a consultant on safety critical environmental monitoring software for (amongst others) British Nuclear Fuels.  Responsible for management of major monitoring project of BNFL Sellafield.
  • 1995 - 2000    Senior Lecturer.  University of Sunderland, School of Computing, Engineering and Technology
  • 2000 - 2010    Lecturer.  University of Strathclyde, Department of Computer and Information Sciences
  • 2010 - present    Lecturer.  University of Abertay Dundee, School of Computing and Engineering Systems
  • Research

Dr. R.I. Ferguson gained his PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Sunderland in 1998.

Whilst at the University of Sunderland, he established a publication record in the fields of software engineering and mobile-agent based systems. His work on engineering mobile agent environments  lead to a interest in mobile computing and context aware systems. Funded research included two Teaching Company Scheme Studentships (£120K). During 1997 and 1998 he was seconded to the Centre for Electronic Commerce, with a remit to manage the design stage of the EU funded TRADEPOINT e-commerce research project.

Between 2000 and 2010 at the University of Strathclyde he was a member of Smartlab (the Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing Group) and subsequently the  Software Systems Group where he successfully supervised (5) PhDs on agent based middleware for group communication, quality metrics for context data in ubiquitous computing, semi-structured databases and scalable distributed indexing systems. The theme underpinning this research has been networks of distributed (and sometimes mobile) agents, concentrating on problems ofcommunication between distributed agents, utilising them to solve distributed indexing problems, ad-hoc networks of agents and the use of agents in  pervasive and ubiquitous computing. His research in mobile agents has included the Microsoft funded moboNET project (£30K).

Experience in distributed computing and networking has lead to an interest in forensic computing and a project in digital forensic readiness funded by SLIC (£12K) looking at security issues in public access networks.

Since arriving at the University of Abertay Dundee his work has concentrated on digital forensic triage and appling visualization techniques to problems in digital forensic analysis.

Dr Ferguson has taught extensively (since 1995)  at all levels from first year undergraduate to postgraduate levels. Topics include:

  • Digital Forensics,
  • Computer Architecture,
  • Operating Systems,
  • Computer Graphics,
  • Distributed Programming,
  • Mobile Systems,
  • Object Oriented Analysis, Design and Programming
  • Agent-based Systems. 

Winner of the Abertay Student-led Teaching Award for "Creative and Innovative Teaching" 2011-12 - Many thanks to all of you who voted for me - most unexpected!


  • FERGUSON, R.I., Mitchell, I. & Parrington, N.(Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on MetaCASE (MetaCASE '95) - Pub. University of Sunderland Press, ISBN 1 873757 02 6
  • Grey, J., Scott, L. and FERGUSON, R.I.,(Eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on the Construction of Software Engineering Tools.(CoSET2000), University of Wollongong Press.
  • FERGUSON, R.I., Computer Graphics via Java 2nd Ed, pub. Ab-Libris Ltd, (2003)


Book Chapters

  • Lynsay A. Shepherd,  Jacqueline Archibald,  R. I. Ferguson, "Perception of Risky Security Behaviour by Users: Survey of Current Approaches", Human Aspects of Information Security, Privacy, and Trust. Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 8030, 2013, pp 176-185
  • 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
  • Walker, N., Coull, N., Ferguson, R.I. and Milne, A.,  A Method for Resolving Security Vulnerabilities Through the Use of Design Patterns, in Cyberpatterns (Eds Blackwell, C. and Hong, Z.), Springer, 978-3-319-04446-0,  p. 149-155 (2014)
  • Tayyaba Nafees, Natalie Coull, Robert Ian Ferguson, and Adam Sampson, Idea-Caution Before Exploitation: The Use of Cybersecurity Domain Knowledge to Educate Software Engineers Against Software Vulnerabilities in Proc. 9th International Symposium, (Bodden, Eric, Payer, Mathias, Athanasopoulos, Elias (Eds.) ESSoS 2017, Bonn, Germany, July 3-5, 2017 


Journal Papers

  • Parrington N.F., FERGUSON R.I., Hedges S. & Spence L., "The Use of Hypertext and the WWW in Teaching and Assessing Software Engineering", Active Learning Vol1, Issue 1. 1994
  • FERGUSON, R.I., Parrington N.F., Dunne, P., Archibald, J.M., & Thompson, J.B., "MetaMOOSE - an Object-Oriented Framework for the construction of CASE tools", in Journal of Information and Software Technology, Vol42, 2, 1999
  • HUNTER, A., Kennedy, L., Henry, J., & Ferguson I., "Application of neural networks and sensitivity analysis to improved prediction of trauma survival." Awaiting publication in Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 1999
  • A.D. Irons, P. Stephens, R.I. Ferguson, Digital Investigation as a distinct discipline: A pedagogic perspective, Digital Investigation, Volume 6, Issues 1-2, Pages 1-92 (September 2009)
  • Russel, D., Bradley, D.A., McLeod, A., White, R., Ferguson, R.I., Isaacs, J., "The Internet of Things - The Future or the End of Mechatronics", Awaiting publication in "Mechantronics" - ref. MECH-D-14-00540R1 (Feb2015)

Conference Papers

  • FERGUSON, R.I., Archibald, J.M., Hedges, S. & Parrington, N.F., "Object Oriented Software Engineering using AI Techniques", In: Proceeding of Workshop W10, ECOOP 94, Bologna, 1994
  • Parrington N.F., FERGUSON R.I., Spence L. & Thompson J.B., "The Use of Hypertext and the WWW in Teaching and Assessing Software Engineering", - SEHE 94 - Southampton, 1994
  • FERGUSON R.I., Parrington N.F. & Dunne P., "MOOSE: A Method Designed for Ease of Maintenance." In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Quality Software Production 1994 (ICQSP 94), Hong Kong: IFIP, 1994
  • FERGUSON R.I., Parrington N.F. & Dunne P., 1995. "MOOSE: A Method Designed for integrated CASE tool support". In: Proceedings of the 1st International Congress on MetaCASE (MetaCASE '95), Sunderland UK: University of Sunderland Press. 1995
  • Hannell, I., FERGUSON R.I. & Parrington N.F., "An expert CASE tool - MetaCASE '95" - In: Proceedings of the 1st International Congress on MetaCASE (MetaCASE '95), Sunderland UK, 1995
  • FERGUSON R.I., Parrington N.F. & Dunne P., 1995. "Quality through Reuse." In: Proceedings of Software Quality Conference 1995 (SQC'95), Dundee, UK, 1995
  • Parrington, N.F., FERGUSON, R.I., & Mills. J., "The use of Hypertext and the World Wide Web in Computer Based Assessment", ALT-C 95 Changing education, Changing Technology, 1995
  • Mills, J., Parrington, N.F., Arthington, D.R. & FERGUSON. R.I., "A Multiple Choice Questionnaire System, using The World Wide Web, ORACLE and ProC", Innovations in Student Assessment.,1995
  • Mitchell, I., FERGUSON, I. & Parrington, N.F., "Rapid Prototyping: An Integrated CASE Based Approach", Object-Orientation and Entity Relationship '95, 1995
  • HUNTER, A., Ferguson R.I., & Hedges, S., "SWOOP: An application generator for ORACLE/WWW systems", WWW4, Boston Dec. 1995,
  • Bloor, C., FERGUSON, R.I. & Swales, S., "Teaching Web skills to non-computing students via the Web", In: Proc. 5th Ann. CTI Conf. Teaching of Computing - Integrating Technology into the Computing Curriculum, Dublin, Aug. 1997
  • FERGUSON, R.I., Cranner, P., Grey, D.J., Slade A., Thompson, J.B. & Williams, A., "Trends in Internet-based electronic commerce: Results of an initial survey", IFIP, Japan 1998
  • FERGUSON, R.I., Cranner, P., Grey, D.J., Slade A., Kerridge. S., & Williams, A., "A survey of Trends in Internet-based Electronic Commerce", - Cyprus 1998
  • FERGUSON, R.I., Parrington N.F., Dunne, P., Archibald, J.M. & Thompson, J.B., MetaMOOSE - an Object-Oriented Framework for the construction of CASE tools In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Constructing Software Engineering Tools (CoSET'99) Los Angeles, May 1999
  • Grey, D.J., Dunne, P, FERGUSON, R.I., AgentSeek: a means of efficiently locating resources on the World Wide Web using mobile, collaborative agents. ASIM/SCS Workshop2000 - Agent-based Simulation, University of Passau, Passau, Germany, May 2-3, 2000
  • FERGUSON, R.I. & Hunter, A., On the use of object oriented techniques to support the construction of CASE tools, Proc Americas Conference on Information Systems 2000 (AMCIS2000), Long Beach, 10th-13 August, 2000
  • GREY, D.J., Dunne, P, Ferguson, R.I., A Mobile Agent Architecture for Searching the WWW, Proc. International Symposium on Mobile Agent Applications, Baden-Baden, Germany, July 31st - August 5th 2000
  • Grey, D.J., Dunne, P. and FERGUSON, R.I. On Searching the WWW with Mobile Collaborative Agents, in Proc. SCI-ISAS2000, Orlando Florida.July 24th-28th, 2000
  • Grey, D.J., Dunne, P., FERGUSON, R.I., A Mobile Agent Architecture for Searching the WWW, in Proc. Workshop on Agents in Industry, 4th International Conference of Autonomous Agents, Barcelona, June 3rd 2000
  • FERGUSON, R.I. & Hunter A., MetaBuilder: The diagrammer's diagrammer, in Proc. AAAI International Conference on the Theory and Application of Diagrams (Diagrams 2000), University of Edinburgh, Sept 2000
  • FONGEN, A., Eliassen, F., Ferguson, I., Stobart S., and Tait, J., Distributed resource discovery using a context sensitive infrastructure, IIWAS, Linz, Austria, June 2001
  • FONGEN, A., Eliassen, F., Ferguson, I., Stobart, S., and Tait, J., A Scalable and Fault-Tolerant Architecture for Distributed Web-Resource Discovery in Proc. 14th IASTED Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing and Systems, 2002, Cambridge, USA
  • G. Stevenson, P. A. Nixon, and R. I. FERGUSON, "A General Purpose Programming Framework for Ubiquitous Computing Environments," Proceedings of Ubisys: System Support for Ubiquitous Computing Workshop, UbiComp, Seattle, Washington, 2003.
  • R. Glassey and R. I. Ferguson, "Location Modeling for Pervasive Environments," To be Presented at the First UK-UbiNet Workshop, London, UK, 2003.
  • R. Glassey and R. I. Ferguson, "SpaceSemantics: An Architecture for Environment Modeling," Proceedings of Ubiloc: Location-Aware Computing Workshop, UbiComp, Seattle, Washington, 2003.
  • R. Glassey, G. Stevenson, M. Richmond, P. A. Nixon, S. Terzis, F. Wang, and R. I. Ferguson, "Towards a Middleware for Generalised Context Management," Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Middleware for Pervasive and Ad Hoc Computing, Middleware, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2003.
  • Kirk, D.S., and Ferguson.R.I., “moboNet: A Mobile Code System for .NET CF Devices.” Poster in the workshop for recipients of the Microsoft Research Innovation Excellence Award for Embedded Systems., Microsoft Research, Cambridge, Sept 2004
  • S. W. Shah, P. Nixon and R.I. FERGUSON. "On the Use of IP Multicast to Facilitate Group Communication between Mobile Agents", in Proceedings of IEEE/WIC/ACM International conference on Intelligent Agent Technology (IAT 2004) Beijing, China, 2004.
  • R. Glassey, G. Stevenson, and R. I. FERGUSON, "Mobile object location discovery in unpredictable environments". In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Mobile Computing and Ubiquitous Networking, 2006.
  •     "R.E. OVERILL & R.I. Ferguson, Does Computer Forensics belong to Computer Science or Forensic Science? HEA Workshop on the Teaching of Computer Forensics, University of Northumbria, Nov 2007
  •  A. Poulter, I. Ferguson, D. McMenemy, and R. Glassey, "Question: Where would you go to escape detection if you wanted to do something illegal on the Internet? Hint: Shush!.". ICGS3: 5th International Conference on Global Security, Safety and Sustainability. 2009
  • Ferguson R.I. “Set A Thief to Catch a Thief: Simulated Crime and a Motivation for Group Work” in HEA Workshop on the Teaching of Computer Forensics, University of Sunderland, Nov 2009
  • Ferguson, R.I. “Quo Vadis? An introductory case study inGPS and database analysis” in HEA Workshop on the Teaching of Computer Forensics, University of Sunderland, Nov. 2010
  • Ferguson, R.I., Ball, L. & Sapeluk,A. SafeList: A Digital Forensic Triage Assistant,  Proc. of Cyberforensics 2011,Univ. Strathclyde, June 2011
  • Lowman,S. and Ferguson, R.I. Web History Visualization for Forensic Investigations, Proc. of Cyberforensics 2011, Univ. Strathclyde, June 2011
  • 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
  • Walker, N., Coull, N., Ferguson, R.I. and Milne, A. On the use of Design Patterns to Capture Aspects of Memory Corruption Vulnerabilities, CyberPatterns 2012, in Proc. The First International Workshop on Cyber Patterns: Unifying Design Patterns with Security, Attack and Forensic Patterns (CyberPatterns2012) 9-10 July 2012, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK, 2012
  • Ferguson, R.I., Leimich, P. and Bagley, R., On the digital forensic analysis of the Firefox browser via recovery of SQLite artifacts from unallocated space, CFET2012, Canterbury,Kent, UK, Sept 2012
  • Shepherd, L., Archibald, J.M and Ferguson, R.I., Preception of risky security behaviour by users: a survey of current approaches, (accepted for publication), HCII, Las Vegas, 2013
  • Bayne, Ethan; Ferguson, R. Ian; Sampson, Adam T.; Isaacs, John, Using multiple GPUs to accelerate string searching for digital forensic analysis
    In Proceedings of the Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law Conf. (ADFSL 2016), 2016-09)
  • Coull, N., Ferguson, I. and Donald, I., The Gamification of Cybersecurity Training, in Proc. of 11th International Conference on E-Learning and Games (Edutainment 2017), Bournemouth University, 2017
  • Nafees, T, Coull, N, Ferguson, R.I., Sampson, A.(2017)  “Vulnerability Anti-Pattern: A Timeless Way to Capture Poor Software Practices (Vulnerabilities)”, accepted for the 24th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLOP 2017)

Invited Talks

  • Digimap 10th Birthday Event 20 January 2010, University of Edinburgh - http://edina.ac.uk/events/digimap10/
  • Ferguson, R.I. “Make me secure, Oh Lord, but not yet.” - Invited keynote address to MobiSec 2011, Aalborg, Denmark, 2011
  • University of Edinburgh/SICSA, May 2012, “Research Challenges in Digital Forensics

Conference Panel Sessions

  • Cyberforensics 2012, University of East London, May 2012

More Information


KTP (details to be added)

Microsoft (details to be added)

SLIC (details to be added)

Innovation Vouchers


  • 2017 - Member of the SICSA CyberNexus Review College
  • In 2005, Dr. Ferguson was the publicity chair of the European Conference on Object Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2005)  
  • Co-Organiser First Int’l Conf. on MetaCASE (MetaCASE ‘95), Co-organiser 2nd International Symposium on Constructing Software Engineering Tools (CoSET 2000)
  • External Examiner - University of Hull (MSc Distributed Systems Development), University of Lincoln (BSc/HND Computing) (2004-2007)
  • External Examiner - MSc Distributed Computing - University of Teesside (2007-2011)
  • External Examiner - University of Lincoln (2006-2009 )
  • External Examiner - University of Greenwich (2008 - )
  • External Examiner - Staffordshire University (2008 - )
  • Regular reviewer for Software Practise and Experience, IEEE Transaction of Software Engineering, and the SIGIR conference and International Workshop on Middleware for Pervasive and Ad-Hoc Computing.
  • Dr Ferguson has acted as external examiner for PhD on 5 occasions including the Universities of Hull, St Andrews and Sunderland.


I seem to have my contact details on a list circulating inside the BBC and am trotted out whenever they need someone to interview about cybersecurity.  Recent interviews have included:

  • TV - BBC Reporting Scotland - Interview on Digital Forensic aspects of the Glasgow Airport bombings  (08)
  • Radio - BBC Reporting Scotland - Interview on government emphasis on need for business to respond to cybercrime threat (Sep 12)
  • Radio - BBC London - Interview on the Vanessa Phelps(?) show (2012)
  • Radio - BBC Wales - Interview on gov't designation of cybercrime as 'Tier 1 Threat" (2011)
  • Radio - BBC Scotland (Reporting Scotland) - Interview on gov't designation of cybercrime as 'Tier 1 Threat" (2011)
  • Radio - BBC Scotland - Part of 30 min programme on Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking (2011)

Press articles

  • Amercian Forces Network (2010)
  • The Courier (2010)

Invited Talks

  • Cafe Science - Oct 2012 - Digital Forensics vs Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Gavin Hales

Dr Gavin Hales

Division of Cyber Security | Lecturer

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Dr Natalie Coull

Dr Natalie Coull

Division of Cyber Security | Head of Division

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