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Oxford Uni chucks big brains at ivy-covered cybersecurity hub

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Oxford University boffins launched an interdisciplinary Cyber Security Centre on Monday. The new research hub aims to boost academic research into infosecurity.

The Oxford Cyber Security Centre aims to research threats such as cyber terrorism and cyber crime, as well as running studies on the trustworthiness of electronically stored information. The facility will act as the base for 12 permanent academic staff, more than 25 research staff and 18 doctoral students.

The current research activity of the group is already worth more than £5m, a figure Oxford hopes to grow by forming an inter-disciplinary brains trust that will drive developments in both the theory and practice of cyber security.

The centre will bring together researchers in computer science with academics from other disciplines, including business studies. Oxford institutions such as the Saïd Business School, the Oxford Internet Institute, the Blavatnik School of Government, the Oxford e-Research Centre and Oxford University Computing Services will contribute to the research effort.

The centre is already working on a range of research projects together with industry, government and military organisations. These research projects include studies into home network security, detecting insider threats in cloud computing environments, spotting malicious applications on smartphones as well as a study on risk and privacy in social network environments. Other research projects are looking into the use of steganography by terrorists and how it might be detected, mobile payment security and preventing denial-of-service attacks in wireless networks.

University dons hope to encourage government and private sector organisations to get involved in the research effort. Professor Sadie Creese, the centre's director, explained: “Security requires a positive - and to a large extent open - collaboration between industry, government agencies and universities."

The UK already boasts several centres of excellence in cyber security, including the Un‪iversity of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory‬ and Cranfield University's Defence Academy.

More details on the Oxford University Centre and its research projects can be found on its website here. ®

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