​CommBank, UNSW to address cybersecurity skill shortage with AU$1.6m initiative

The Commonwealth Bank and the University of New South Wales will be building a cybersecurity education security to educate the next line-up of online security experts.

The Commonwealth Bank and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have signed a five-year AU$1.6 million partnership to develop a cybersecurity education centre to boost the number of security engineering professionals in the country.

The security engineering partnership will see the two companies build a cybersecurity centre that will consist of a new security engineering lab for hands-on teaching of security courses at the UNSW Kensington campus; provide support for new PhD researchers tackling internet security issues and for the tutoring of undergraduates; and offer funding to recruit lecturers and up to four CommBank Security Engineering Fellowships for graduates who wish to teach subjects at UNSW.

The partnership will also see the launch of a cybersecurity undergraduate curriculum where UNSW students will have the option to choose Security Engineering as a specialist stream of their Computer Science degree.

The curriculum will also be published openly for sharing with all Australian universities under creative commons licensing and made publicly available on the internet as a massive open online course.

Richard Buckland, associate professor in Computer Security and Cybercrime at UNSW, said cybersecurity roles are one of the most difficult for employers to fill.

"We've seen a 60 percent increase in security jobs advertised in the past year, and companies constantly struggle to hire people with up-to-date security skills," he said.

"This partnership will help drive the pipeline of professionals needed to support Australia's growing digital economy. It will also build Australia's capability for teaching security engineering and establish and share an up-to-date curriculum. This is about raising the bar for cybersecurity education across the nation."

Ben Heyes, Commonwealth Bank chief information security and trust officer, said the company is excited to help educate more online security experts.

"At the moment, we don't have enough graduates that are coming out of the education facilities to fill the jobs. There is a really strong demand that's being unmet for a quantity and a quality of highly skilled graduates," he said.

"The concept of applied centric skills is not present in many of the programs that exist today. That's the uniqueness about the partnership and one of the reasons why we are so excited to couple together a heavy weight from an academic perspective with a company like ours so that we can bring those skills sets together."

This announcement comes after UNSW announced last month that the Australian Centre for Cyber Security in its Canberra campus has opened enrolment for the country's first degree program devoted to cyberwar, a Master in Cyber Security, Strategy and Diplomacy, which will start in February 2016. The Master's degree will be offered through online study.

The new program complements two existing UNSW Canberra Master's degrees: Master in Cyber Security which focuses on the technical aspects of cybersecurity; and Master in Cyber Security Operations, which looks at subjects such as cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

Over the weekend the Victorian government revealed it will dip into its AU$508 million Premier's Jobs and Investment Fund to establish the National Broadband Network's (NBN) National Cyber Security Operations Centre to Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for Employment Jacinta Allan and Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis jointly said in a statement the centre will be the first line of defence against cyberthreat to the NBN.

"It provides a collection of services for the delivery of detection, identification, triage, and management of cyber events and incident response," they said.