Cyber-criminals are target for Leeds Beckett University experts

Dr Z. Cliffe Schreuders.
Dr Z. Cliffe Schreuders.
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You’ve heard of CSI: Miami and CSI: NY – now there’s a new law enforcement kid on the block in the shape of CSI: Leeds.

The first two are, of course, TV dramas that follow the work of crime scene investigation units on the other side of the Atlantic.

Here in West Yorkshire, however, CSI is all about the Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre recently opened by Leeds Beckett University.

Headed up by Dr Z Cliffe Schreuders, the CSI Centre is based on the university’s Headingley campus and its work aims to stem the country’s rising tide of digital crime.

One of its key projects is an 18-month partnership with West Yorkshire Police that will identify so-called ‘knowledge gaps’ in digital investigations.

Another project is a collaboration with the University of Birmingham that is expected to break new ground in security education research.

It will provide students with a new digital environment to test their hacking skills, an approach that could transform the way digital security is taught around the world.

Speaking to Digital City about the centre’s work with the police, Dr Schreuders said: “Cyber-enabled crime is a rapidly emerging and ever-evolving threat.

“As technology changes and improves, so do the criminals – which is why the work we’re doing with West Yorkshire Police is ambitious and challenging.

“Our role is to work with West Yorkshire Police, helping to identify areas where they are strong and where they can be improved.

“We have collaborated with all levels of West Yorkshire Police to identify potential areas for improvement and the challenge now is to design and evaluate alternative solutions – to bring about improvements.

“A key part of this will be in identifying research projects the police can undertake in collaboration with us, to help improve the way they deal with cyber-enabled crime.

“We are confident that the work we are doing will help to ensure that police forces across the country are able to fight cybercrime now, and in the future.”

Turning to the link-up with the University of Birmingham, Dr Schreuders said: “The uniqueness of our approach is that our hacking challenges will be randomised.

“That is, every student gets a unique set of challenges in a unique virtual machine.”

Recent research by the Home Office indicates that as many as five million people – about eight per cent of the UK population – are the victims of cyber-enabled crime every year, with common offences including identity theft and fraud.

The Yorkshire Evening Post recently launched a new Digital City platform in partnership with Sky Betting & Gaming.

The platform is designed to highlight the giant strides being made by a sector that boasts around 3,000 organisations in Leeds.