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Belfast hails cyber jobs

As with many sectors of industry, London is first for cyber-security jobs; and the mid-west of England is seeking to make more of its cluster of cyber firms. But Northern Ireland, too, is laying claim to being a centre for cyber.

A Cyber Security Summit in Belfast on May 8 heard that Northern Ireland’s estimated cyber salaries stand at around £70m a year. Prof Máire O’Neill from Queen’s University Belfast spoke of ‘an extremely exciting time for cyber security in Northern Ireland but also for the sector globally’. Queen’s is home to the Centre for Secure Information Technologies’ (CSIT), part of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

Prof O’Neill said: ““At CSIT, our researchers are leading cutting-edge research in cyber security. We are also developing the next generation of industry leaders to meet the huge demand from industry for cyber security professionals.”

Meanwhile First Derivatives | Kx Systems has become a CSIT member company. Mike Thomas, SVP of Cyber at First Derivatives, said: “Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry that impacts organisations of all shapes and sizes. CSIT is uniquely situated to bridge industry, education and government to produce world-class research and insights in cyber security.”

Last year the CSIT Labs incubator took its third cohort of cyber security start-ups, providing engineering resource and support for companies. Alumni include B-Secur, Liopa and Cyberlytic. The London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA), opened last summer and featured in the August 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine, is delivered in part by CSIT. One of LORCA’s first cohort was Surevine, which has since worked with Queen’s on an adapter between Threatvine (as the name suggests, Surevine’s cyber information sharing platform) and MISP, offering free and open source threat intelligence (short for Malware Information Sharing Platform), with focus on ‘Indicators of Compromise’. MISP is used by audit firm Deloitte (another backer of LORCA), for example, and their customers. For more about Surevine, of use for critical infrastructure supply chains, click here.

A BBC Radio 4 In Business programme in January told how Bletchley Park, the Enigma machine and GCHQ meant Britain was a leader of what would become cyber security; the country has since slipped. Belfast shows what the industry with academia can do to catch up.

About CSIT

CSIT’s MSc course in applied cyber security has NCSC/GCHQ full certification. As the Centre (based off-campus at the Northern Ireland Science Park, in Titanic Quarter) says, traditionally universities have researchers and PhD students on three-year contracts and they leave when things are getting to a crucial point. CSIT has contracts based on the hi-tech business model, to employ engineering and business development staff with industry experience.


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