Supporting police and businesses in the fight against cybercrime
Meet the expert..
Dr Christopher Richardson
With organisations set to lose 5 per cent of their revenues per year to online fraud, cybercrime has become a global societal issue – and its impact is predicted only to rise.
At Bournemouth University’s Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU), researchers are investigating the complexities, growth and impact of fraud – including cyber-enabled crime, identity fraud and theft of intellectual property.
Alongside creating the security practitioners of the future through innovative degree courses and dedicated research in state-of-the-art laboratories, BUCSU is already making a difference to the way cybercrime is prevented and policed.
The unit has been working with the small businesses most at risk of being affected by cybercrime, offering practical advice and support in producing and implementing cyber security strategies.
It is also developing close partnerships with police forces and security agencies, who will have an increasingly important role to play in the fight against cybercrime.
BUCSU is working with a number of UK police forces, supported by Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, as well as government departments in the South West region, to provide practical help and advice.
The BUCSU is a year old and it came about with the active support and inspiration of Professor Jim Roach (the outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology) and the continuing support of BU's Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, and the Higher Education Innovation Fund.
BUCSU membership is growing, with seven more new practitioners and lecturers set to join us over the next six months.
We have also begun to focus on the strategic direction of BU's Cyber Security Unit and the formation of its Advisory Board of 21 eminent professionals and academics.
We have student placements with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), and within the unit we have three excellent expanding laboratories in Poole House, along with our very own street art.
In the near future, our web pages will have a rogues gallery to support outreach to all our Digital Forensics & Security students, our police volunteers and those who may wish to start with our exciting new BSc Cyber Security Management and MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors courses.
Our fusion of research, enterprise and education has innovation, diversity and new pathways to impact as we examine criminality in the Cloud; research the ethics of Pen-testing; help build collaborative Cyber-Policing; create new IT governance across the university; and inspire knowledge exchange partnerships with a growing number of Dorset businesses.
We are also building new multi-disciplinary teams in Business Continuity, Human Factors and Cyber Psychology, and Food Security, alongside providing Cyber-assurance to Sports Personalities and support for the Trustworthy Software Initiative - as well as the UK’s Women in Security Initiative, the UK Cyber Security Challenge.
But above all, we aim to actively challenge and inspire life-long learners who understand that curiosity leads to understanding, wisdom and shared situation awareness and not necessarily to criminality - and we all do need to understand cyber security.
Christopher Richardson, Director of the Bournemouth University Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU)
As part of my degree, I spent my placement year within BU’s IT Services Security Team. To my benefit, I was also able to work closely with the consulting practitioners of the Bournemouth University Cyber Security Unit (BUCSU) and their collaboration with the police forces of the South West and the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU).
Through my time at BU, I have learnt that even the best security measures can be circumvented, usable security still eludes us and our perspective on information and privacy is changing. Having a Psychology A-level background, I found the degree course’s exploration of natural intuition about risk and security trade-offs has combined with the technical know-how to develop my confidence, technical competence, awareness and ethical understanding to provide a more holistic view of working securely in cyberspace.
Next year as part of my project, through the wonderful opportunities and networking contacts I have made this year, I will be working closely with the South West police forces and the ROCU to develop an enhanced Cyber Security Training course.
The project is designed to explore and advance how cybercrime is opening new avenues for policing and what can be done to stop criminals exploiting socio-technical systems and emptying bank accounts. After this I hope to study the new BU Master’s course in Cyber Security & Human Factors before pursuing a career in this rapidly expanding domain.
Fiona Richardson, BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing and Security
Tackling cyber-crime is a priority for the Force. It has the potential to affect every household in Dorset. The internet continually presents opportunities to criminals. Traditional crimes can now be carried out online, extending the scale and reach of criminality like never before.
Our young people are at increased risk of cyber-bullying, an awful crime which has far-reaching effects on some of our most vulnerable people. In equal measure, we have seen an increase in the risks to the older population as they embrace new technology to enable them to carry out financial transactions online and keep in touch with loved ones in an ever-shrinking world.
I am delighted to be working with Bournemouth University in finding approaches to cybercrime, and I congratulate them on their forward thinking. My team look forward to building on that relationship as we develop a joint approach to raising awareness and finding solutions to this fast emerging threat.
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
Cyber-related crime calls on all aspects of policing, from instances of cyber bullying and online fraud through to international terrorism. These crimes do not necessarily occur where one police force ends and another begins. For example, countering terrorism requires a seamless and integrated approach that spans local communities through to foreign countries. Dorset Police will play its part in tackling this new and growing threat which exists not on our streets but in cyberspace.
Whilst some of these threats have national and international dimensions, they also cause harm locally as well. For example the internet can be used by paedophiles to exploit and abuse young people. Threats such as these must be tackled not only by local policing, strongly grounded in communities, but also by forces and partner agencies working collaboratively across force and organisational boundaries.
Another reason to expand our partnership-working and national and international relationships is to counter the threat of an external cyber-attack. If our local infrastructures or businesses are subjected to an online attack by an international ‘botnet’ then it is important that investigators have access to the right investigative capability to deal with the incident and prevent further damage.
Our strong links to the excellent facilities at Bournemouth University and the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit help us to do this effectively and are part of our ever-growing commitment to tackling cyber-crime in all its forms.
David Lewis, Assistant Chief Constable Dorset Police