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Securing Academic Cyberspace – Does Anyone Really Care?

Keith Martin, Director, Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, provides an update on recent government initiatives relating to academia and cyber security.


Keith Martin worries that too many people think that the data within universities is not considered to be important.

There has been a lot of cyber security fuss in the press in recent years. Keith took us on a tour of recent news items on the news websites about cyber security, including headlines such as:

“Web attacks build on Shellshock bug”

“US hospital hack ‘exploited Heartbleed flaw'”

“More than 309,000 identities exposed in University of Maryland cyber attack”

“Protect yourself from eBay cyber-attack” (posted by the University of Hull who issued an emergency response to an eBay attack due to a concern that students were using the same login details for both eBay and university serves),

“Two universities hit by Anonymous cyber attack” (linked to ‘hacktivism’ which universities are more prone to, particularly when academics are researching controversial issues)

“School’s anonymous messaging app to tackle bullying”

“Naked selfies extracted from ‘factory reset’ phones”

“Tomorrow’s cities – the lamp-posts watching every move” (effectively a scare story about big data, making the point about what data can be found)

“Entering ‘the house of hacking horrors'” (a story reminding readers about the expanding data networks from smart meters)

“How technology is changing disaster relief” (an amazing story about British relief workers dropping battery chargers to people fleeing Islamic State militants. This suggests that what you need in a disaster situation is food, water and a battery charger)

“FBI boss ‘concerned’ by smartphone encryption plans”

On the positive side, Keith highlighted several headlines that show that money is around to support universities to confront cyber securities issues.

He used these headlines to re-write the title of his presentation to “Securing Academia”. He argued that we need to disregard the ‘cyber’ element and just protect academia across the board, in all aspects of life.


Your Perspective

If you have an comments or views about the issues raised by Keith Martin, please leave a comment below or join us on Twitter using the #FOTE14 hashtag.

posted by kpitkin on October 3, 2014

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