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Formal education for cybersleuths

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May 3, 2007

May 4, 2007 The University of Portsmouth (UK) has announced a unique degree for hi-tech gadget gurus and cyber sleuths of the future. The degree - BSc in Securities Technology - is based on the security needs of today's world, but is nonetheless ahead of its time. It's the first degree course in the UK to combine online encryption with the study of the underpinning technologies behind surveillance and security gadgets. Students will get to use cutting-edge equipment and will be taught to master techniques such as retinal scanning, through-wall radar imaging, infra-red surveillance and detection, and online encryption.

Dr Mike Hosking from the University of Portsmouth's Electronic and Computer Engineering Department said extensive market research lay behind the decision to offer such a unique course of study. The consultation included seeking opinion from the British Security Industry Association.

"The subject of security is all-pervasive. It's a hot topic right now at home and internationally because of terrorism and the effect this is having on everyday life," Dr Hosking said.

"We have spent countless hours talking to people in the security industry and without exception when we told security professionals what we intended, the feedback was that the industry was disturbingly short of technical and engineering expertise in the areas that underpin many of the new technologies.

"There is definitely a gap in the market for this kind of training.

"Our new MSc Securities Technology degree is industry-focussed. It approaches the subject from the point of view of the underpinning technologies, devices and systems that embrace the areas of electronics-based hardware, together with the encryption tools and techniques with computers and computer-based networks. The graduates coming out of this system will be trained on the cutting-edge of technology and be industry-ready."

A security industry survey of 28,000 professionals last year revealed that law enforcement and IT, networking and telecommunications were the biggest employers in the sector. The sector is diverse. Graduates could land a job doing a wide range of things - from doing intelligence work for government agencies to providing security systems for banks and shopping malls.

Other topics included in the new degree will be: sensor systems (IR, mircrowave/RF, optical, CCTV, through-wall radar, underwater); signal processing (numberplate recognition, scene matching, zonal tracking, image processing); network and computer security; biometrics; system integration and inter-operability; and communications and data security.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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