UK's GCHQ announces a new cyber security institute

By Lee Kaelin on September 14, 2012, 9:30 AM

Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has announced a new academic cyber security institute will open in the UK next month. Partly funded by a £3.8 million ($6.1m) grant from the country’s spy center, the move comes as the government looks to focus more resources on combating a worldwide increase in cybercrime and further strengthen its defenses against future cyber-attacks.

The Research Institute in the Science of Cyber Security (RISCC) will operate for the next three and a half years at University College London (UCL). Though based in London, the institute will work alongside the University of Aberdeen, Imperial College, Queen Mary College, Royal Holloway, Newcastle University, and Northumbria University.

Professor Angela Sasse will lead the institute. She holds a PhD in Computer Science, is the head of Information Security Research at UCL, and has extensive experience in researching the usability of security systems with an emphasis on access control, authentication mechanisms and user attitudes. 

“The UK is one of the most secure places in the world to do business — already eight percent of our GDP is generated from the cyber-world and that trend is set to grow,” said Rt. Hon. Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office. “But we are not complacent. Through the National Cyber Security Programme we are putting serious investment into the best UK expertise to lead thought in the science of [cyber security].”

The institute will enable academics in the field of cyber security throughout the UK, including mathematicians and computer scientists, to work together. It will also "connect them with the collective expertise of industry security experts and international researchers in the field to tackle some of the UK’s toughest challenges in Cyber Security, in both the public and private sectors," GCHQ said in a statement.

Creating RISCC is a key part of the Nation Cyber Security Strategy (PDF), whose objectives are to make the UK one of the most secure places for conducting online business as well as further improving the country’s ability to protect its interests online.

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