EPSRC RISE - Professor Sadie Creese, University of Oxford

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EPSRC RISE Leader Professor Sadie Creese talks with Dr Jason Nurse about their research in the Cyber Security Centre, University of Oxford.

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Professor Sadie Creese - Professor of Cybersecurity, University of Oxford [SC]

Cybercrime, state on state, what we used to call script kiddies, even with the best to breed technologies available today to detect such attacks, we are seeing a huge number of alerts, more alerts than we can possibly deal with and so it's incredibly important that we understand which are the ones that are the game changers, where do we deploy our clever creative minds, what do we respond to first?

I'm Professor Sadie Creese, I'm Professor of Cyber Security here at the University of Oxford. Essentially our understanding of cyber security is that of something which is very complex and inter-disciplinary in as much about people and society as it is about technology. Here in the research group that I run inside computer science, and you see some graffiti on the wall behind me, we are very focused on understanding better the nature of cyber-attack, the consequences for people and organisations, nations, humanity as a whole and trying to make much more intelligent and very dynamic decisions in terms of how we respond. The sheer volume of cyber-attacks that we are witnessing today is growing exponentially - imagine transport, banking, food on the shelves, schooling, getting to work, phoning each other, keeping the lights on, the potential for that to be switched off for a short amount of time, the consequence for us is so dramatic it's incredibly important that we have managed to step up and really understand how we defend ourselves in these spaces. So in the context of the RISE scheme we have been partnered with James Quinault. James owns the problem of the UK's Cyber Security and Information Assurance Programme and it is so essential to the success of our science that we have close relationships with people like James, because in the end its through its application that we really understand how to drive forward the science and in order to get that insight at the coalface, we have to be close to people like James Quinault who can keep us engaged with the agenda for the nation and our part in working with industry, working across public sectors, so that we cannot just look to solve the problems of 10, 20 years in the future, but along the way we can really cut our teeth on some of the most engaging problems that we face today.

My rising star is Dr Jason Nurse and he's a particularly special individual because he has managed to transcend both computer science and cognitive science and psychology. His focus in recent years has been in that incredibly challenging space of how we connect between what might be a very abstract understanding of risk to individuals and organisations with people who have to understand what we are trying to say to them, so that we can help them make more effective decisions whether they're the police, whether they are your gran, whether they are the CEO of a very large organisation.

Dr Jason Nurse - Postdoctoral Cyber Security Researcher, University of Oxford

One of the main problems is this whole idea of over sharing, people are continuously sharing so much information about themselves on line with little regard of the permanent risk associated with assurance information. Whether the risk be stalking or burglary, if someone knows that you're not at home or kind of reconnaissance for any other purpose even to target companies for example. Criminals these days are willing to look at your Facebook profile and monitor it as kind of a platform to actually be able to burgle your house. It's a classic example of the fact that as technology progresses, criminals are adapting to the availability of information and actually using that as a platform to conduct further attacks.


We've built walls, a bit like our walls around medieval cities and layers, but we have been jelly like, almost armadillo like on the inside, and so now what we are embracing in this area of cyber security science is really a movement towards how on earth do we understand cyberspace as a system that has to work through, tolerate and exist in spite of malicious intent within it. It's essential that we support researchers like Jason because ultimately they really will open up the future and they really will open up these new scenes of scientific endeavour and I can't wait to see where he takes that.