CENSIS – Scotland’s innovation centre for sensors, imaging systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – and international audit, tax, and advisory firm Mazars, have developed a new initiative for UK students aimed at supporting greater diversity in cyber security and IoT resilience.
In an initial pilot running this summer, CENSIS will welcome a group of students who are part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst programme to the innovation centre to explore IoT security. The students will participate in an ethical hacking exercise, using IoT technology designed by CENSIS’s engineers to better understand the vulnerability of systems to potential cyber-attacks.
The programme will bring together students from a diverse range of backgrounds and undergraduate disciplines and will simulate practical real-life IoT issues. The students will also be asked to identify vulnerabilities in the system and areas that could be improved to prevent exposure to cyber threats.
With increasing global legislation, including the new Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill currently going through the UK Government’s review process, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, particularly to meet new requirements for connected devices.
A 2022 report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport highlighted that more than 50% of UK businesses lack the skills to cover the basics of cyber security.
Cade Wells, acting business development director at CENSIS, said: “Boosting diversity in cyber security is incredibly important as different paths into the sector inevitably bring a greater range of fresh ideas. Innovation is all about doing things differently and we need a range of perspectives to feed into that. Our focus on cyber security and resilience in IoT is designed to support, rather than stifle, future technology developments, and cyber security will only become more important as legislation changes.”
“The kit we’ll be using for the new initiative was designed for teaching purposes and we hope the programme will be both fun and informative for the students. It will be interesting to see how the skills already gained through the internships at Mazars influence the results of the hacking exercise. We hope that this workshop will be the first of many to support the CyberFirst initiative and wider diversity agenda across the sector, reducing the barriers to entry for under-represented groups.”
Sandeep Sharma, director, cyber security, at Mazars, added: “Cyber security testing, or ethical hacking, is often software-based, so it’s great to be able to give the students access to physical devices that will help them to develop important skills. IoT cyber security is sometimes considered an after-thought and we have not encountered any other organisations delivering the type of learning experience that CENSIS can offer. As the students prepare to enter the sector after graduation, it’s important for us to give them access to a range of tools and skills to help them succeed in their chosen careers.”