Unitec partners with Japanese govt for cybersecurity course

New cyber security research institute hopes to attract students to lucrative field of IT security

Training opportunities in New Zealand for a career in international cybersecurity received a boost last month when Unitec launched its Cybersecurity Research Facility at its Mt Albert campus in Auckland.

The research facility is being established in partnership with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) - which conducts cybersecurity programmes for the Japanese government.

Using NICT’s Direct Alert Environment for Darknet and Livenet Unified Security (DAEDALUS) system, researchers are able to monitor IP traffic leaving a “base station” in New Zealand (in this case the Unitec campus) to extrapolate the type and number of malicious threats on a network.

Live display tools show researchers information on those threats, including country of origin and the malware being propagated - as well as sending out alerts to the technicians responsible for securing the network.

Unitec’s facility is modelled on NICT’s centre in Japan. The two organisations have agreed to share information on cybersecurity threats to increase awareness and resilience in both countries.

Hossein Sarrafzadeh, head of the computing department at Unitec, says the research centre will be the focal point for new IT security courses at the technology institute.

Sarrafzadeh says IT security is an increasingly attractive field for young graduates, and the partnership with NICT enables Unitec to provide up to date security information in its courses.

“It’s an area we see jobs being created now and in the future. It’s not just large financial institutes, but smaller organisations are looking to protect their data and finding workers with the right skills and experience to fill it,” says Sarrafzadeh.

“If you want job security, look at cybersecurity as your profession.”

Hossein says the partnership with NICT is a “good first step”, and it furthers New Zealand’s capability to produce highly prized security experts.

An initial agreement lasting three years between the two organisations is in place, with the possibility to extend that contract by a further three years.

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