The new Oxford Cyber Security Centre

“The increased use of internet-based applications, the rise in computer-based crime, together with the impact of social media applications, has amplified and changed the nature of security risks,” announced the Cyber Security Centre. This is pure Oxford: the philosophy of security within society.

“Cyber security obviously draws heavily on Computer Science research,” it continues. Well, Cambridge has always been seen as the Oxbridge center for science. “But it reaches far beyond that.” And this is where Oxford can excel. Apart from its own sociology, psychology and philosophy depths, it is also home to the Saïd Business School, the Oxford Internet Institute, the Blavatnik School of Government, and the Oxford e-Research Centre

“The new Cyber Security Centre,” explained Felix Reed-Tsochas of the Saïd Business School, “provides an extremely exciting opportunity to bring Oxford's tremendous strengths in computer science and highly interdisciplinary research to bear on critical real-world problems.” The theory is excellent, merging Oxford’s long history of original thought with contemporary problems: computing in society, business and government. We should not forget that information security is fundamentally not a science problem, it is a social problem. It is not so much what we use, but how we use it that causes the difficulties. This is an issue that Oxford is uniquely positioned to tackle.

But one potential problem is that the Centre is already, in pure academic terms, tainted by commercialism. It is a business. “The great thing about planning anything inter-disciplinary at Oxford is its all round strength in depth,” commented professor Bill Roscoe, head of the Computer Science Department. “That makes it the perfect place for engaging in cyber security research and setting up top-class educational programs for managers and engineers from government and business... the breadth of expertise in security at Oxford will provide the perfect platform for us to create a range of educational offerings for practitioners and those who manage them.”

The Oxford Cyber Security Center may not be old-school Oxford; but it potentially has much to offer new-school infosec. “The centre will drive major developments in the theory and practice of cyber security and aims to help in the creation of a safe, secure and prosperous cyberspace through internationally leading research and educational programmes,” it claims.

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