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Cyber Security

Nurturing the Next Gen of Cyber Security Professionals

Over the past 3 weeks, under the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia, we collaborated with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to host 3 cohorts of students under the Cyber Security Immersion (CSI) for Youth programme.

Also known as CSI:MY, this programme was initiated by MDEC to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals; this is in line with the national agenda that focuses on increasing the skills and capabilities in cybersecurity of Malaysian youth, as well as to elevate Malaysia as a hub for cybersecurity talents. A large majority of participants of this programme came from matriculation colleges in Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka while some of them were appointed Digital Ninjas - Malaysian students (aged 13-17) who possess great digital making talents and have shown tremendous potential in becoming future Digital Tech experts.





Each cohort went through a 3 Days 2 Nights programme at APU; throughout the programme, students underwent seminars, brainstorming sessions and presentations. The contents were delivered by APU’s academic team from the School of Computing & Technology, which covered essential technical knowledge and know-how of phishing, hacking, types of cyber-attacks, countermeasures and so on. The interactive delivery methods were well-received by the students; all of them enjoyed the sessions and developed interests in pursuing a career in cybersecurity! 

In addition to the regular lectures and presentation sessions, under the coordination of APU Career Centre, several industry professionals were invited to deliver career talks to the students, in which they were exposed to the potential career pathways in the future.





Overall, it was a successful bootcamp. The 3 Days 2 Nights programme has created a long-lasting impression for the students; it was a memorable journey for them! At the end of each cohort, students recorded their testimonials and we’ve put together flashback videos for the 3 cohorts who were under this programme.

Click here to view the flashback video for:
Cohort 3: Digital Ninjas
 
We look forward to hosting more events like this, as we are also eager to play a part in contributing to the national agenda for IR4.0, nurturing talents who are high in demand within the digital economy.
 

The Nation's Pride, Once (Twice) Again!

We’re proud that our excellence in cybersecurity has gone global! 

APU’s Cyber Security teams, Shellhound and Et3rnal brought the nation immense pride and joy as they emerged as the Champion and the 1st Runner up of the recently concluded Regional Cyber Challenge 2019 that was held in conjunction with the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) Perth Conference.



Organised by Silensec and Cyber8Labs, Australia, the competition was a virtual competition that took place around the globe. Our teams prepared and went through the competition’s challenges at our Cyber Range, while they competed among 12 participating teams that came from 9 countries. 

Throughout the 5 hours of the competition, teams had to make use of their Incident Response skills to detect, respond and recover from cyber-attacks. It was an intense competition, as the teams’ capability were tested greatly through the challenging case scenarios, combined with the emergence of several vulnerabilities throughout the duration of the challenge. At the end of the challenge, both APU teams defeated their competitors and emerged as the TOP 2 TEAMS of the challenge!



At a recent prize giving ceremony held at our campus, both teams received their awards and certificates from Ms. Daisy Sinclair, Founder of Cyber8Lab Pty. Ltd., Australia, who flew here all the way from Australia to attend the ceremony.

CONGRATULATIONS to teams Shellhound & Et3rnal – thank you so much for making us proud! This achievement has once again proven that our students are capable to compete globally, as cybersecurity professionals of the future. The skills and knowledge possessed by them do not fall short of those who come from developed countries, and as graduates from a Malaysian university, they are definitely capable of standing in the eyes of the world!

Kudos to the teams’ mentors, Ms. Yusnita Yusof & Ms. Nor Azlina Abdul Rahman for their passion and dedication in leading the teams towards their success. Members of the 2 teams comprised:

Team Name

Members

Shellhound – Champion

Mentor: Ms. Yusnita Yusof
Leader: Imran Esack Dawoodjee
Members:
Sritaran Doraisamy
Mohin Paramasivam

Et3rnal – 1st Runner Up

Mentor: Ms. Nor Azlina Abdul Rahman
Leader: Hains Jojo
Members:
Reza Ahmad Nugroho
Farzan Mohammed

APU's Cyber Heroes

Our Cyber Heroes did it again! 

At the recently concluded Cyber Heroes Competition (CHC) 2019 that was jointly organized by Cyber Security Malaysia (CSM), Standard Chartered Bank and APU, our Year 2 Cyber Security students, Imran Esack Dawoodjee, Sritaran Doraisamy and Nicholas Leow Yung Jian (Team Shellhound) achieved the highest score and were crowned champions of the challenge. The challenge was hosted at APU’s Cyber Security Talent Zone, where it saw the participation from 13 local private and public universities.

Our teams, FetchOrbis and Shellhound demonstrated extra confidence throughout the competition, in which team Shellhound performed excellently by demonstration skills and talents in forensic analysis and outstanding teamwork. At the prize giving ceremony that was held in Putrajaya Mariott Hotel, apart from attaining the championship, Imran, who was the member of team Shellhound, was also announced as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for contributing the most points for his team. They receive their prizes from  YB Tuan Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Communications and Multimedia who was also the guest of honour at the closing ceremony.

Apart from taking part in the competition, teams FetchOrbis and Shellhound also had the opportunity to be a part of the Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019  forum, to hear and discuss about youth initiatives in making the internet a safer place. Congratulations and well done to team Shellhound, as their mentor, Ms. Nor Azlina ffor their success!

Recognition for Excellence

At the recently concluded Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum, we are proud to share that APU has received the prestigious Recognition of Excellence Award. This award acknowledges our long-lasting effort  in using innovative and disruptive technologies through optimization of processes, delivering citizen-centric services and pushing new boundaries within the higher education scene.

Our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ron Edwards, and Chief Innovation Officer cum Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Ir. Vinesh Thiruchelvam were present at the ceremony to receive the award from  Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia. It was also notable that the APU CyberSecurity Talent Zone, being Malaysia’s first cybersecurity talent zone with military-grade facilities, was well-acknowledged as a renowned innovation in this perspective!

We applaud all academic and non-academic staff for their efforts in always delivering, implementing and practicing innovative solutions, and we shall continue to think innovatively!

[Press Release] Asia Pacific Champs

Kuala Lumpur, 4 March 2019: Four students from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) brought pride to their university and the country as they emerged as the Champion Team at the 2019 Ernst & Young (EY) Asia-Pacific Cyber Hackathon Challenge.
The Hackathon took place in Hong Kong on 3rd March 2019. It was an international arena for top universities from across the Asia-Pacific to compete on strategic thinking, reasoning and technical programming skills. University teams from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia were amongst the finalists.


All participating teams were required to work on a real-life cyber experience that challenges them to ‘capture the flags’ by completing various custom-made scenarios.


Team “FetchOrbis” from APU comprising Yap Chee Sing, Mun Chee Wah, Imran Esack Dawoodjee and Hassan Zayan Azzam from the School of Computing & Technology (SoCT) achieved the most points at the end of the challenge. They eventually championed the challenge and walked away with HKD20,000 (equivalent to RM10,380).


The students are part of the Cyber Security and Software Engineering programmes at APU. This is their first time participating in the EY Asia-Pacific Cyber Hackathon Challenge.


 “This has been an incredible learning experience for us as we are still very new to the competitive scene. The competition emulated real world environments and scenarios really well and it certainly was challenging,” expressed Hassan Zayan Azzam, member of team “FetchOrbis”, as he recalled the memorable experience.


Congratulations Team FetchOrbis! They made us proud by demonstrating not only knowledge and skills in cyber security but also the necessary passion, dedication, team-spirit, problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence to be able to withstand the demands and pressure which comes in any hackathon,” expressed Surpriya Singh, Head of School of Technology, APU.

The Top University Goes To.. APU!

 

We are announced as the Top University at the KPMG Cyber Challenge 2018!

Our teams achieved tremendously, at the recently concluded competition. Among all universities that participated, our students achieved the highest number of awards in various categories, with their outstanding skills and knowledge in the cyber security field.

The challenge was a 4th installation initiated by KPMG, to nurture undergraduates on their ability to develop innovative, real-world cyber security solutions. Apart from the main “Cyber Security Challenge” track, KPMG’s strategic partners, Netpoleon, Google Cloud, FireEye and IET developed different tracks to assess participants on based different technologies. Our students’ have attained awards in the following categories:

Based on the highest number of awards achieved by our teams, we emerged as the Overall Champion and are now recognized as the Top University at the challenge!  Without doubt, this excellent performance was a result of dedication and effort by the mentors, Dr. Meisam Eslahi, Ms. Maryam Var Naseri, and Mr. Umapathy Eaganathan who have assisted, guided as well as supported the teams towards their success.

Hands-On Experience in Biometrics Technologies

IRIS Corporation, as an established player in trusted identification, is an organization that has a significant international presence in 32 countries across the globe. With their proven expertise, IRIS offers global clients smart cards, secure ICs, inlays, cards and passports personalization and issuance by adopting the latest national and international regulations and technological standards. We are pleased to share that our students were able to gain the professional working environment and hands-on industrial experiences through the industrial visit to IRIS Corporation Berhad that was organized by the APU School of Computing & Technology. 

Under the guidance of Dr. Mohamed Shabbir, Afifah Binti Sabri and Nik Sakinah binti Nik Ab Aziz from the faculty, 35 students who were from the Cyber Security and Forensic Computing programmes had the opportunity to visit IRIS and listen from practicing experts in the field of cyber security.

Overall, it was a great beyond the classroom learning experience for students who learnt about the functioning of various biometric devices and its applications as well as more in-depth knowledge of the cyber security working environment - many of them even expressed their interest to undergo their internship or start their career with IRIS! Kudos to the faculty for organizing the visit!

[Press Release] Malaysia’s First Integrated CyberSecurity Talent Zone Launched at Asia Pacific University

Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2018: Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) unveils Malaysia’s first Cyber Security Talent Zone located within a University, at its campus in Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil today.

The launch of the CyberSecurity Talent Zone is officiated by YB Tuan Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Communications & Multimedia, accompanied by YBhg Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and YBhg Datuk Parmjit Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of APIIT Education Group.

At his welcome speech, Datuk Parmjit Singh mentioned, “The launch of the APU Cybersecurity Talent Zone is indeed a major milestone for us, and provides us with the perfect platform for us to make a quantum leap to the next level in our Cybersecurity, Forensics and IOT talent development efforts. This is a prime example of the power of partnerships, and in this regard we are grateful to MDEC for their leadership, dedicated support and active participation, as well as our partners TecForte Sdn Bhd (Malaysia), PGI Ltd (UK) and Cyber Test Systems (France) for their invaluable contributions in making this a reality. Through these international partnerships, the APU Cybersecurity Talent Zone is perhaps the most advanced facility of its kind within a Malaysian University.”

The aim of setting up the CyberSecurity Talent Zone within APU’s campus is to address industry’s pressing need for technically competent CyberSecurity professionals. The exposure received by APU students in this Talent Zone is indeed invaluable. APU partnered with MDEC and industry partners in this truly International initiative, which includes infrastructure and services from at least three countries – a Security Operations Centre (SOC) set up in collaboration with TecForte Sdn Bhd from Malaysia, a comprehensive Cyber Range set up together with Cyber Test Systems from France, and UK GCHQ accredited “UK GCHQ Security Operations Centre – Incident Responder (SOC-IR) Program provided by PGI Ltd.

Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) commented: "Malaysia is vitally aware of the importance of future-proofing the cybersecurity sector, especially to ensure that the nation’s digital economy continues to thrive. It is more critical than ever before to fortify and strengthen Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem with strategic initiatives, especially through public-private sector collaboration such as today's integrated cybersecurity talent zone."

Datuk Yasmin added that this move followed the launch of an industry-driven up-skilling talent development initiative with APU, UK's PGI and TecForte under MDEC's Platform for Real Industry Driven Project Exchange (PRIDE) programme with the aim of transforming cybersecurity challenges into sustainable economic growth.

"In this Industrial Revolution 4.0 era, our education programmes and initiatives are expanding beyond just preparing for career employment; for digital transformation, learning must continue right through the whole of life," continued Datuk Yasmin.  "Collaborative digital education and training initiatives will play an increasingly vital role in creating opportunities and preparing our workforce with relevant industry-based skillsets that are aligned to industry needs."

The CyberSecurity Talent Zone features a fully-functional Security Operations Centre (SOC) that allows students to have hands-on cybersecurity operations experience. The facility, supported by TecForte Sdn Bhd with training and development by PGI, allows APU’s Cyber Security students to actively analyse occurrences of cyber-attacks and plan counteractive measures towards cyber threats through real-time data.

TecForte Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia-based expert in Security Management Solution and Advisory, has been part of APU’s industry partnership panel since 2016. Under the industry-academic partnership, Tecforte has been supporting APU’s cyber security education via its ELITE (Elevating IT Education) Program, as well as collaboration on Internship & Postgraduate Research.

TecForte’s ELITE aims to partner with 10 selected universities in Malaysia and the ASEAN region to produce 10,000 ELITE Program graduates and 150 ELITE trainers by 2025,” said Kho Han Yao, CEO of TecForte Sdn Bhd.

In addition, a full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre (also known as Cyber Defence Centre – CDC) is also included within the Cyber Security Talent Zone, supported and sponsored by Cyber Test Systems of France (via Cyber Intelligence Sdn Bhd) with equipment valued around RM2.4 million. The Cyber Defence Centre incorporates latest technologies and a cyber-defense system (also known as Cyber Range) that can simulate highly complex cyber-attacks in a hyper realistic environment, enabling cyber security professionals and students to understand and formulate defence strategies, and practice the entire chain of cyber defence, while preparing them to deal with real cyber threat attack when it happens.

Students will be exposed to the usage of the facilities in their Year 2 and Year 3 of studies, in which they will be required to complete assignments and group projects in the SOC and CDC to produce accurate cyber threat reports based on the real-time data. With the use of Data Analytics, data collected can be used in both academia and industry environments for research purposes, to create innovative solutions to combat future threats in the cyber world.

With the strategic partnerships, APU & its industry partners aim to build the next generation of highly skilled cyber defenders for academia, businesses, government and service providers.

Other facilities within the Cyber Security Talent Zone include the Centre for Research and Development in IoT (CREDIT) and the Centre for Forensics & Cyber Security (FSec) that are designed to provide a wide spectrum of advanced technologies and tools for the usage of students, academia and the relevant industry partners.

Some details of other facilities within the Cyber Security Talent Zone are as follow:

  • The Centre for Research and Development in IoT (CREDIT), powered by technologies from MDEC, Mimos, IBM, SAP, FavorIoT, Iconix, Semtech and other various industry partners feature an array of display of latest IoT-enabled devices and solutions. Workshops, projects and lecture classes will be conducted in the IoT Learning Labs, whereas the Project Innovation Room provides the facility for students to conduct research and develop innovative IoT products and solutions.
  • The Forensics Mock Court serves as an avenue for students to be exposed to real-world practices in forensic evidence presentation, particularly when it comes to presenting findings of cyber security investigation reports, traces of digital footprints and so on.
  • The Centre for Forensics & Cyber Security (FSec) serves as a sophisticated research centre for undergraduate and postgraduate students to conduct research on digital assets protection, cyberspace activities, cybercrime investigations and incident handling and responses based on the provided facilities. Moving forward, the Centre will also host industrial talks by partners from the industry in which the facility will be utilised as an industrial networking zone as well.

Double Win at Hack @ 10

We are pleased to share that our students attained marvelous achievements at the Hack@10 competition, that was held at University Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) recently. Hack@10 is a security competition to search new security talents among the competing students and to reward those who have successfully demonstrated their Cyber Security knowledge and skills. 
 
APU Forensics & Cybersecurity Research Centre (FSec) Student Section coordinated and arrange the participation of our students in the competition, who were spread into three teams:
 
hashcow: Choong Chih Xien (APU), Alexandr Sukhamera (APU) 
Cmonster: Rueben Ng Yuan Jiun, Pea Jia Ying and Lee Liang Foong 
Leviathan: Teng Chee Yuen, Barath a/l Siva Kumar and Imran Esack Dawoodjee 
 
 
 
These teams were supported by Yusnita Yusof, Nor Azlina Abd Rahman and Yogeswaran A/L Nathan from the Network, Security and Forensic (NSF) academic group under the School of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Engineering & Technology (FCET) and who also members of FSec.
 
After an intense 6-hour competition, two of our teams, hashcow and Leviathan won as the Champion & 2nd Runner Up. They received cash prizes of RM3000 and RM1000 respectively. Cmonster managed to be at 10th place, sharing the same score with 4 other teams (7th - 10th places). Great to know that all of our teams were among the Top 10!
 
Congrats to APU teams for job well done! 


Publication on TechWire Asia - "Cybersecurity experts in high demand, earn more"

THE demand for cybersecurity experts in emerging markets like Malaysia is so high that companies are turning their roles into highly lucrative careers and poaching students with job offers even before they graduate.
 
United Kingdom-based cyber-security firm Protection Group International (PGI) says IT professionals who upskill to specialise in security could easily see a 20 percent increase in pay, The Star reported.
 
“Demand is outgrowing supply and pushing up pay, as companies compete for the best talent,” PGI chief corporate development officer Sebastian Madden was quoted as saying.
 
“Malaysia has a huge pool of talent and is very strategically placed and we know many foreign students like to travel to learn in Malaysia,” added PGI UK’s Sebastian Madden explaining why signing the agreement with Malaysia is a sound strategic move.
 
He said globally, the demand for the experts rose exponentially as governments introduce regulations requiring mandatory cybersecurity measures in certain industries.
 
By 2020, the estimated global shortage in the field could reach a staggering 1.5 million worldwide.
 
To counter the shortage, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), a government-owned overseeing the nation’s Multimedia Super Corridor, says it is looking to reduce the gap of 3,000 cybersecurity experts through two strategic initiatives under the Real Industry Driven Project Exchange (Pride) talent programme.
 
Together with PGI, MDEC has teamed up with Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) and local security solutions provider, TecForte Sdn Bhd, to increase the cybersecurity talent pool, according to the Malaysian Reserve.
 
“The partnership between industry players and the local educational institution will help identify the gaps in the industry and guide critical skill set development within the institution,” MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said during an agreement signing ceremony on the matter on Friday.
 
“This will also help to upskill cybersecurity industry talents and produce high-income professionals.”
 
By 2020, the estimated global shortage in the field could reach a staggering 1.5 million worldwide. Source: Shutterstock
 
A recent AT Kearney study on cybersecurity revealed the top 1,000 Southeast Asian companies could lose US$750 billion in market capitalisation amid cybersecurity concerns that could derail the region’s digital innovation agenda.
 
Southeast Asia’s digital economy is tipped to add some US$1 trillion to the regions gross domestic product (GDP) in the next ten years.
 
“However, the increasing wave of cyberthreats and risks could impede trust and resilience in the digital economy and prevent the region from realising its full digital potential,” Yasmin said.
 
“Looking at Malaysia, it has also seen strong economic growth in recent years and is determined to continue this trend to achieve the government’s vision of becoming a high-income nation.”

The entire article and photo above was published on Techwire Asia on Tuesday, 13 February 2018.

Source: http://techwireasia.com/2018/02/cybersecurity-experts-high-demand-better-paid-pros/ 

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