Vodafone has signed an agreement with Unitec Institute of Technology for the establishment of a joint cyber research facility and secondment programme.
Unitec’s chief executive, Rick Ede, said the partnership would help raise New Zealand’s next generation of cyber security professionals. Under the agreement, Vodafone and Unitec will jointly commercialise any security product and service innovations that result during the partnership.
Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners said that, as a global company, Vodafone would bring commercial experience, expertise and threat information to the partnership. Vodafone already operates a cyber defence centre, billed as “a sophisticated network monitoring system closely linked to Vodafone's global security operations facilities, which ensures ready access to valuable threat intelligence.”
Unitec has a specialist Cyber Security Research Centre (CSRC) founded in 2012 in collaboration with Japan’s major research organisation, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). According to Unitec, it was the first of its kind in New Zealand and has since become a focal point for cyber security research in New Zealand. It is based at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus.
At its launch Unitec said Unitec researchers would do the work using funding and equipment provided by NICT. At its launch, Hossein Sarrafzadeh, computing head of department at Unitec, said: “NICT is very keen on the research capability we have in our department. That was one of the reasons they wanted to work with us. We already have researchers with the necessary expertise related to cyber security.”
Ede said that cyber security had to evolve in line with the criminals’, whose tactics are becoming more sophisticated. “New Zealand alone is seeing more than 100 ransomware attacks every day – a 160 percent increase since 2014.”