With cyber-crime a concern world-wide, the head of the Hawks Electronic Crime Unit will share insights on information and security at an event at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Friday, 30 October.
Brigadier Piet Pieterse from the Hawks will give one of four presentations at a morning-long seminar that forms part of the launch of the Centre for Research in Information and Cyber Security (CRICS) in the School of Information and Communication Technology at NMMU.
Brig Pieterse joined the South African Police Service (SAPS) on 1 December 1979 where he was assigned to the Detective Services from 1983. Today, Brig Pieterse heads the Electronic Crime Unit.
He has extensive exposure to the investigation of cyber-crime, specifically to the broader financial/banking platform.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Dr Jackie Phahlamohlaka will discuss the recently published; “Draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill” as well as other South African initiatives to protect South African interests and stakeholders from cyber-related risks.
Dr Phahlamohlaka completed an MSc in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Dalhousie University in Canada and a PhD in Informatics from the University of Pretoria. He is currently the Competency Area Manager of the Command, Control and Information Warfare (CCIW) within the CSIR. He currently is a member of the Strategic Research Panel at the CSIR, a body within the CSIR which advises the CSIR Executive.
Dr Phahlamohlaka completed the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP) from the South African National Defence College in 2007. He has since supervised more than 40 Commandant Research Papers (CRPs) in subsequent Programmes of the College as well as being a regular presenter on the topic of Broadband Access and National Security, with an ICT focus on Cybersecurity.
His research interests are in ICT and socio-economic development, web-based group support systems, and most recently, broadband access and national security. Dr Phahlamohlaka has published extensively and supervised many honours, masters and PhD students.
Prof Basie von Solms, Research Professor in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Director of the ITU-UJ Centre for Cyber Security of UJ is another speaker.
He will review the epic cyber security attack on Target, a huge US retail group, as well as the downstream consequences, like the firing of the CEO and the massive class action legal case now being made against the company by customers who lost their data.
He obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UJ (formerly the Rand Afrikaans University) and has been lecturing Computer Science and IT at this University since 1 October 1970. He specialises in research and consultancy in the area of information security, information security governance, cyber security and critical information infrastructure protection.
In 2011 the Board of IFIP appointed Prof von Solms as the general conference Chair and also International Programme Committee Chair of the IFIP World Computer Congress scheduled for September 2012 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Also in 2011 Prof von Solms was awarded the Alumni Achievers award by NMMU, where he started his academic studies 1965 when it was still the University of Port Elizabeth.
The other speakers are NMMU staff members of the School of ICT – Profs Reinhardt Botha, Johan van Niekerk, Kerry-Lynn Thomson and Mariana Gerber. They will cover the privacy perspective on the Ashley Madison incident – explain how the hack occurred, share the lessons learnt about online consumer behaviour and that of governance around online businesses.
NMMU Crics Team
In 1990, the first research paper in the field of computer security stemmed from the ex-Port Elizabeth Technikon. Rossouw von Solms, a lecturer and PhD student at the time, co-authored a journal paper that was published in the journal, Information Age. The first ‘security’ research student, supervised by Rossouw von Solms, also completed his master’s degree in 1990. The first conference paper was presented early in 1991.
From this humble beginning, research in the ‘security’ field grew slowly but surely. Rossouw von Solms obtained his PhD degree from the ex-Rand Afrikaans University in the early 1990s. Reinhardt Botha joined the Port Elizabeth Technikon as a lecturer in 1996. Reinhardt was also conducting research in this field and acquired his PhD degree soon afterwards.
More research outputs followed and more postgraduate students conducted research in this field. The ‘security group’ grew with Kerry-Lynn Thomson’s graduation with her PhD degree in 2008, Mariana Gerber in 2010, Johan van Niekerk followed in 2011 and Lynn Futcher graduated in 2012. Today, these six researchers, all staff members in the NMMU School of ICT, constitute the primary members of the ‘security group’, officially called the Centre for Research in Information and Cyber security (CRICS).
Quantitatively, 98 peer-reviewed journal papers and 240 conference papers were produced by the group, along with the 93 master’s and 15 doctoral graduates. Qualitatively the group boasts more than 3000 citations. Indeed the group can be proud of their research outputs and contributions.
In addition to these research outputs, the group members have also excelled in other research-related areas. Each of the six group members hold a PhD degree in a security related field. Four of the group members are NRF-rated researchers; one B, two C and one Y rated.
Most of these members are active in the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), specifically the Technical Committee 11 responsible for Information Security. Four of the group members hold management positions in IFIP Technical Committees and/or Working Groups.
Prof Von Solms is the South African representative to IFIP TC11 and Prof Johan van Niekerk to IFIP TC3. Dr Lynn Futcher is the Chairperson of IFIP WG 11.8 and Prof Kerry-Lynn Thomson is the Secretary to IFIP WG 11.12. Furthermore , Profs Botha and Von Solms hold editorial-related positions in journals that frequently or exclusively publish security related research. In addition, Dr Futcher is a committee member of the ACM Cyber Science Curriculum Committee.
From the above it is clear that the members of CRICS are not only producing their fair share of research outputs, but are also very active, connected and play leading roles in the fields of information and cyber security.
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