CYBERSECURITY professionals shoulder the tremendous responsibility of ensuring that the cyberspace of organisations, and even countries, is safe.
Taylor’s University Faculty of Innovation and Technology School of Computer Science and Engineering lecturer Dr Kok Sim Hoong said cybersecurity graduates have the choice to work in any company or organisation that has an information and communications technology department.
“Wherever there is a sizeable use of computer system and devices, there is a need for a cybersecurity expert to support and protect it,” he said.
Cybersecurity is an optional specialisation at the university, he said, adding that they learn about secure software systems, wired and wireless network security, computer forensic and intrusion detection.
Multimedia University Faculty of Information Science and Technology Technology Transfer Office deputy director and senior lecturer Dr Ooi Shih Yin said any industry that deals with data and the Internet such as the government; technology, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things companies; the media; and retailers, will want someone with cybersecurity qualifications onboard.
“Now that teaching and learning have moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, even the education sector is in need of a cybersecurity professional,” she said, adding that cybersecurity graduates can work in practically all sectors because of the range of computer knowledge they possess.
Besides understanding computer concepts, programming and networking, they also know data encryption, cryptography, authentication and biometrics.
“These allow students to learn access control technology which can be used in government, media, retail and education industries to govern data processing.
“They also know penetration testing and digital forensics, which equip them with skills to perform internal security audits in any industry they are in,” she said.
No longer a niche area, many tertiary higher education institutions now provide a wide spectrum of specialties and modules to produce experts in the field.
UOW Malaysia KDU’s Bachelor of Computer Science programme, for instance, covers the core fundamentals of security and computer forensics.
School of Computing and Creative Media head Assoc Prof Dr Tan Chin Ike said the degree covers the general, defensive, and offensive aspects of cybersecurity.
Defensive modules use a reactive approach to security that focuses on prevention, detection, and response to attacks, he said.
“The subjects we offer in this area are network security, computer system security and wireless and mobile security.
“Offensive modules deploy a proactive approach to security through the use of ethical hacking or pre-emptive attacks on hackers to cripple or disrupt their operations and deter future attacks.
“This is covered under ethical hacking and countermeasures and penetration testing subjects.
“We also teach general subjects such as computer forensics, which exposes students to the practice of legally collecting, processing, analysing and preserving digital evidence of cybercrime. Upon completing their courses, cybersecurity graduates can branch into various fields,” he said.
Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) chief innovation officer and deputy vice-chancellor Prof Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam said the varsity maintains a strong collaboration and consultation initiatives with industry players to make its technology education programmes current and industry relevant.
Cybersecurity courses offered at APU are BSc (Hons) Information Technology with a specialism in Information Systems Security, BSc (Hons) Computer Science (Cyber Security), BSc (Hons) Computer Science with a specialism in Digital Forensics, and Master of Science in Cyber Security.
“Our programmes are reviewed by an Industry Advisory Panel annually, which allows us to get feedback, improve, offer internships, organise regular industry visits and participate in industrial projects,” Prof Vinesh said, adding that APU is utilising cybersecurity management firm Tecforte’s technology called ELITE, or Elevating IT Education, to improve the career readiness of cybersecurity graduates.Tecforte founder and chief executive officer Kho Han Yao said the company plans on allowing more higher education institutions to use the technology.
“If it can be utilised to elevate the training of between 8,000 and 10,000 cybersecurity students within the next five years, that would be our contribution to meeting the country’s Fourth Industrial Revolution agenda,” he said, adding that ELITE was created to equip students with industry-like experience in cybersecurity operations to enhance their employability.