Cambridge University to launch cyber-crime research centre

Academics at Cambridge University are behind the launch of a new research centre which is focused on understanding how criminality is conducted online.

The Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre, a multi-disciplinary initiative combining expertise from the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, Institute of Criminology and Faculty of Law departments, will become operational on 1 October, with an objective of creating a “sustainable and internationally competitive centre for academic research into cyber-crime.”

“Our approach will be data driven. We have already negotiated access to some very substantial datasets relating to cyber-crime and we aim to leverage our neutral academic status to obtain more data and build one of the largest and most diverse data sets that any organisation holds,” reads a notice, announcing the launch, on the Cambridge University website.

“We will mine and correlate these datasets to extract information about criminal activity. Our analysis will enhance understanding of crime 'in the cloud', enable us to devise identifiers of such criminality, allow us to build systems to detect this type of crime when it occurs, and aid us in showing how it is possible to collect extremely reliable evidence of wrongdoing. When it is appropriate, we will work closely with law enforcement so that interventions can be undertaken.”

The centre has stressed that this data, both historic and in ‘real-time', will be made available to other academics and will be as comprehensive as possible for future research purposes.

The team is headed up by director Richard Clayton and also comprises some very senior professors across the various departments, including highly-acclaimed cryptography expert Ross Anderson, who is professor of security engineering in the computer laboratory department.

Joining him and Clayton are Alastair Beresford, senior lecturer in the computer laboratory, Simon Deakin, professor of law in the faculty of law, Lawrence Sherman, Wolfson professor of Criminology, institute of criminology, and Alice Hutchings, post-doc researcher at the computer laboratory.

The centre will be advertising for the first research jobs in due course.