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Kaspersky Lab Makes its Mark in Education to Bridge Australia’s Alarming Cybersecurity Shortage

October, 11, 2018

Last month, the leading cybersecurity firm published a successful case study with Yarra Valley Grammar School in Victoria, Australia.  At a time when data breaches in Victorian schools are rising, statistics show that more than 80% of all cyber incidents are caused by human error.

Traditional training programs intended to prevent these problems rarely manage to achieve results. For the school, which is home to 1,300 students and 230 teachers and staff, a key priority was to improve the cybersecurity awareness of teachers and administrative staff. Kaspersky Lab provided its Cybersecurity Awareness Training Platform to highlights risks, encourage safe behaviors and promote personal responsibility.

“We actively investigated cybersecurity awareness modules that would allow our staff to understand the implications of an increased reliance on the internet, email and network use. We came to a unanimous decision to use the Kaspersky Lab Cybersecurity Awareness Training Platform.  It is concise, informative, and attractively presented with high interactivity for all our staff with varying degrees of skill,” said Philip Callil Director of IT and Digital Learning at Yarra Valley Grammar School.

In 2017, the ACT Government estimated that Australia would need another 11,000 cybersecurity specialists over the next decade. With the rise of connected devices, more organisations are constantly faced with finding the right security to combat cybercriminal activity.  

Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) member, Noushin Shabab is doing her part to produce a new supply of Gen Z Australian cybersecurity professionals. Together with Jacqui Loustau, founder of the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN), and co-founders of the AWSN Cadets, Elizabeth Bonny and Diane Loi, these women collaborated with Shabab to support and empower young women in the security industry. Shabab was the first mentor to provide technical workshops for the AWSN female Cadets program which aims to boost their confidence and equip them with the necessary tools before embarking on a career in cybersecurity. Today, this initiative has grown to 60 girls from different universities across Victoria.

Shabab also teamed up with Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA). Launched in 2012, CySCA is Australia’s only national hacking competition, Run by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the competition targets students in higher education in order to unearth the next generation of cyber security talent. She worked closely with Dr. Fengling, who leads RMIT’s involvement with the challenge, to teach a customised syllabus with a niche in reverse engineering for the competition participants.

Dr. Fengling Han said, “Cyber-attacks are considered one of the threats to business growth globally. To address the cybersecurity skill shortages in Australia, CySCA aims to promote cybersecurity as a career option by highlighting the key skills required in cybersecurity practice. Penetration testing and network forensics are the main topics in CySCA. RMIT Computer Science students show strong interest in competing in the CySCA this year. We have a record five teams (four students in one team) registered, including a team of first year students and an all-female team. They have seen so many internship placements and job positions in cybersecurity.”

Shabab is perhaps the only Australian specialising in reverse engineering. Based out of the company’s Melbourne office, she said, “In 2016 when I first started looking for a job in this field, I noticed how large the skills shortage of security researchers was in Australia. However, in the last two years, since the attack that caused Census (Australian Bureau Of Statistics) to shut down and the WannaCry ransomware, the government and education ministries have found it crucial to grow a new crop of students and professionals in the field of cybersecurity. Our new partnerships with these universities are very exciting as both parties can truly make a difference to this industry.”

Kaspersky Lab and Swinburne University of Technology have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support cybersecurity education and bridge the country’s skills shortage. The partnership will focus on enhancing cybersecurity education in information and communication technology courses run by Swinburne’s School of Software and Electrical Engineering. Students and teaching staff are able to benefit from the “Train-the-Trainer” program that promotes regular exchange of information such as industry insights and best practices.  

“This partnership will enable our staff to remain at the cutting-edge of cybersecurity technology in Australia and the world,” said Professor Hung Nguyen AM, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology about the MoU signing in June. He added, “Our students will better learn how to apply the knowledge they gain to real-life problems, giving them a competitive advantage in this growing industry. Together with Kaspersky Lab we can foster the development of educational and research projects in the field of cybersecurity.”

Kaspersky Lab ANZ General Manager, Margrith Appleby says, “The current skills shortage is a result of a lack of defined career paths. We believe our partnership with Swinburne University of Technology, with their respective faculties in software, engineering, science and technology will ensure the development of training and educational content for future of cybersecurity experts in Australia.”

Kaspersky Lab has also previously signed three separate MoUs with Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Temasek Polytechnic.

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