According to CPO magazine, half of all cyber-attacks affect small businesses and an IoT device can be easily attacked within five minutes of attaching to the Internet.
Graduate careers organisation Prospects are predicting that by 2022 there will be 100,000 unfilled cyber security jobs in the UK and salaries across the sector are rising.
With data breaches and headline-grabbing ransomware attacks becoming more common and increasingly sophisticated, Staffordshire University are looking to plug the skills gap by expanding the numbers of cyber security graduates.
There has been significant investment in specialist Cyber Security labs at the University’s main Stoke-on-Trent campus and their new London Digital Institute which are equipped with their own private internal network, containing some of the latest equipment and software. Large display screens also depict live cyber-attacks happening across the world.
“The opening of our new 40-seater lab gives our students a rich learning experience to explore the current theories, whilst also practically and safely exploring detection and system protection to defend against cyberattacks in an isolated and protected lab scenario,” says Dr Russell Campion, Associate Professor and Head of Computing at Staffordshire University.
Students focus heavily on the practical elements of cyber security, learning about mobile device security, making computer programs secure and “ethical hacking” – which is the practice of breaking into computer networks to look for vulnerabilities.
As well as malware analysis, the course also covers cyber investigation and reporting, mobile device forensics and how to analyse and recover data from computer hard discs using the same equipment used in law enforcement.
Cyber security degrees at Staffordshire University have evolved out of degrees in Forensic Computing and Computer Science, and partnerships with Staffordshire Police High Tech Crime Unit and other agencies concerned with keeping organisations and individuals safe from cyber-crime.
“Cyber Security for many is a term they have only become familiar with in the last 5-years through the media, or as being an actual victim of a cyberattack themselves,” says Dr Campion. “For us at the university we have a much longer relationship through the offering of degrees in the subject discipline since 2004 to right up to our newly validated BSc (Hons) Cyber Security course and MSc course. We are experts in our field and are proud to work with the likes of the MOD and the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership, which has led to us making growing contacts and student numbers.”
Previous graduates from Staffordshire are employed in organisations including GCHQ, MOD, the Serious Fraud Office and financial organisations where security is critical.
Watch our Cyber Security lab tour: