Cybercrime, which is estimated to cost the Australian economy up to $1 billion a year and much more globally, is the focus of a new, five-year collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and BT.
The agreement between UTS and BT, one of the world’s leading communications services companies, aims to accelerate cybersecurity development, by building on UTS infrastructure and expertise and exploring new technologies to support advances in products and services. It will also help address skills shortages in this area.
The UTS-BT collaboration will also focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and visualisation.
“We are delighted to align with industry experts who are as passionate about innovation as we are,” UTS’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Innovation & Enterprise, Professor Glenn Wightwick, said in announcing the agreement.
“This is also a great opportunity for us to jointly help address the cyber skills shortage and further strengthen our local cyber R&D capability.”
BT is recognised as a leader in managed security services in the Asia-Pacific region and internationally. Its global network of 15 Security Operations Centres and more than 3,000 security professionals provide services to customers in 180 countries.
“We believe working with UTS will ensure Australia stays ahead of the innovation curve by bringing together the world of academia with our significant focus on R&D in this sector and large company backing,” the Regional Managing Director for BT Australasia, Tim Cavill, said.
“This move aligns to our focus of providing services to global multinational companies with a portfolio of scalable repeatable solutions, all supported by outstanding customer service and market-leading security.
“With our strong heritage in technology, we believe our strategic partnership with UTS will ultimately help better protect Australian organisations and alleviate the skills shortage.”
Professor Wightwick said UTS expected to develop research projects with BT across a number of areas of cybersecurity as the collaboration progressed.
“We also have deep expertise in AI and data analytics that can be applied to the challenge of cybersecurity. There may also be opportunities in forensic science, which today is increasingly focussed on the integration of data from a multitude of sources to improve security.”
Skills development would be another important focus, because of the critical skills shortage the IT industry faces in this area, he said. An internship program where undergraduate engineering/IT students work with BT while studying at UTS was envisaged.
The agreement also provides for BT security experts and researchers to engage with students through guest lectures and innovation programs.
UTS looked forward to drawing on BT’s industry expertise, Professor Wightwick said. “One of the things we value enormously at UTS is deep partnerships with industry, who provide great insight into problem spaces. This helps motivate our research and helps us ensure that what we’re teaching is relevant to the needs of industry.”
Cybercrime was costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion a year in direct costs alone, a government Cyber Security Review found in the lead-up to the launch of the Federal Government’s Cyber Security Strategy.
“Cybercrime is costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually in direct costs alone,” the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission notes. “Cybercrime is diverting funds from the legitimate Australian economy to the illegitimate economy”, with damage including not just loss of money but damage to personal identity and reputation, to business and employment opportunities, and to individual’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.
“Australia is an attractive target for serious and organised crime syndicates due to our nation's relative wealth and high use of technology such as social media, online banking and government services,” the commission says. “The possible lucrative financial gains for serious and organised crime syndicates [mean] the cybercrime threat is persistent.”