Dr Natalie Coull

Head of Division

School School of Design and Informatics

Department Division of Cyber Security

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8938


Dr Natalie Coull gained a First Class Honours Degree in Business Computing at Abertay University and a Doctorate in technology-enhanced education at the University of St Andrews, which was followed by a Post-Doctoral post in the same area. Natalie was appointed as a Lecturer in Ethical Hacking in 2008 at Abertay.

Natalie is the Head of Division of Cyber Security in the School of Design and Informatics and has research interests in secure coding, digital watermarks and computer memory-based security concerns. She also teaches foundational programming and computer security to undergraduate students. Natalie is actively engaged in outreach, including promoting female participation in cyber security and leading a programme to provide Abertay student mentors for local school pupils as part of their National Progression Award in Cybersecurity.
Natalie is interested in exploring the role of computer games in cybersecurity training. In collaboration with Droman Crime Solutions Ltd., a leading strategic consultancy company in security and public safety, and Hyper Luminal, a serious games company, together with Dr Iain Donald, a serious games expert at Abertay, the team is developing a new kind of training environment to help the police deal with cybercrime.

CMP104 & CMP102 - Introductory Programming

The aim of these modules is to provide students with the ability to develop simple programs in C++ that illustrate fundamental programming concepts.

CMP210 - Ethical Hacking 1

This module gives students the opportunity to explore the steps involved in a basic penetration test using our test network. Students will explore the tools used in footprinting, scanning, enumeration and system hacking.

CMP506 - Computer Security

The module introduces issues relating to computer security, including vulnerabilities and techniques for improving defences. Students will analyse how malicious hackers can gain unauthorised access and explore how organisations and individuals can improve their security.


Conference Papers

Nafees, T, Coull, N, Ferguson, 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)

Nafees, T, Coull, N, Ferguson, I, Sampson, A.(2017)  “Caution Before Exploitation: The Use of Cybersecurity Domain Knowledge to Educate Software Engineers Against Software Vulnerabilities”, International Symposium on Engineering Secure Software and Systems (ESSoS), July 2017. 

Coull, N, et al (2017) "The Gamification of Cybersecurity Training", Edutainment, Bournemouth, June 2017. 

Donald, S, Coull, N, McLuskie, D. (2017) “A Methodology for Testing Virtualization Security” International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment  June 19-20, 2017, London, UK

Coull, N et al (2016) “Games Technology to Facilitate Large-scale training in Cybercrime Response.” CEPOL 2016.

Coull, N. Archibald, J. (2016) “Defence Against the Dark Arts: A University Wide Module to Educate the Masses.” HEA National Conference on Learning and Teaching in Cyber Security Conference. June 2016.

Sutherland, J. Coull, N. and MacLeod, A .(2014)  "CPU covert channel accessible from JavaScript." Proceedings of Cyberforensics 2014, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 2014.

Ball L, Ewan G and Coull N. 2012. Undermining: Social Engineering using Open Source Intelligence Gathering, KDIR 2012, Barcelona.

Walker, N. Coull, N Ferguson I, Milne, A (2012) “On the use of Design Patterns to Capture Memory Corruption Vulnerabilities”. 1st International Conference on CyberPatterns July 2012

Duncan, I. & Coull, N. (2012) ''Requirements for educational support tools in virtual worlds” 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education CSEDU 2012

Dowman M, Szymkowiak A, Coull N, Ball L. “Profiling user behaviour to reveal computer misuse”.3rd Annual SIPR conference

Coull, N. Duncan, I. Olaf Graven, O & MacKinnon, L. (2008) Mammoths and Tigers and Quests oh my!...and a little dog too: Research-enhanced teaching of Introductory Programming, in Enhancement Themes Conference, Edinburgh, UK: Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

Book Chapters

Walker, N., Coull, N., Ferguson, I., & Milne, A. (2014). A Method for Resolving Security Vulnerabilities Through the Use of Design Patterns. In Cyberpatterns (pp. 149-155). Springer International Publishing.

Journal Papers

Walker, N., Coull, N., Ferguson, I., & Milne, A. “A Method for Resolving Security Vulnerabilities Through the Use of Design Patterns.” In Cyberpatterns (pp. 149-155) 2014. Springer International Publishing.

Prakash, S., Vaish, A., Coull, N., Srinidhi, T. N., & Botsa, J. (2013). Child Security in Cyberspace Through Moral Cognition. International Journal of Information Security and Privacy (IJISP), 7(1), 16-29.

Coull, N. & Duncan, I. (2011). “Emergent requirements for supporting introductory programming”. ITALICS. 10(1): pp.78-85

Vaish, A. Prabhakar, A. & Coull,  N. (2011) "Quantifying information dynamics through a new valuation system", Information Management & Computer Security, Vol. 19 Iss: 5, pp.313 – 332

Invited Talks:

 “The issues with teaching cyber security” St Andrews University IT Department (2015)

“Analysis of a Cyber Attack” IESIS ProfEng  (2015)

"Intelligent Passwords". Dundee University and St Andrews University Joint Information Security Event. (2014)

"The Role of Education in Cyber Securit"y. Holyrood Conference on Cyber Security (2013)

More Information


Selected Funding
Year(s) Title of Award Source Value
2016 First Responder Guide Interface (plus matched cash from company) £40,000 (PI)
2016 Droman Crime Solutions Innovation Voucher (plus matched cash from company) £10,000 (PI)
2014 RIO (Remote Internet Observation) SIPR £5,000 (PI)
2014 Monitoring of Internet Sex Offenders KTG (Knowledge Transfer Grant) £5000 (PI)


• Invited speaker, IESIS ProfEng “Analysis of a Cyber Attack”
• Invited speaker Holyrood Cyber Security Conference “The Role of Education in Cyber Security”
• Assessor for the 2017 round of the EPSRC and GCHQ’s Academic Centres of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research
• Member of the GCHQ Master’s Certification Panel for session 2016 and session 2017
• Reviewer in external Athena Swan Assessment Panel in April 2016
• Member of SQA’s Qualification Development Team to oversee the creation of a new qualification (National Progression Award) for school children in the area of cybersecurity
• Committee member of the local branch of the BCS (Tayside and Fife)  and Branch Chair from 2014 – 2016
• Associate Member of the BCS
• Fellow of Higher Education Academy
• Outstanding Woman in Cyber Award 2016, Scottish Cyber Awards


Natalie is a STEM ambassador and organises outreach activities with local schools. These range from computer security talks and demonstrations to senior secondary school pupils to password security and Lego MindStorm programming workshops with younger pupils.

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Lynsay Shepherd

Dr Lynsay Shepherd

Division of Cyber Security | Lecturer

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Mr David McLuskie

Mr David McLuskie

Division of Cyber Security | Teaching Fellow

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