Six cyber security master’s degrees certified by GCHQ

Six cyber security master’s degrees certified by GCHQ

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has announced six new master’s degree courses in information security, with certification to be awarded by  GCHQ.

Universities were given the opportunity to present their degrees for an evaluation against GCHQ criteria, and the chosen six courses are believed to offer relevant and clearly-defined content for the subject.

GCHQ formulated its criteria after collaborating with Fred Piper, a professor from the University of London, which was the first institute to offer a master’s degree on the subject. Plymouth University’ Steven Furnell also contributed in the development of assessment criteria.

The University of Bristol’s cryptology professor, Nigel Smart, said in a press statement:

“For the first time, UK universities which become certified will have a means to promote the quality of the cyber security they teach.

“Over the next few years, as GCHQ certification is applied to more specialised areas of cyber security, I expect the number of UK universities achieving certification of their master’s degrees to increase.”

More qualified security professionals are needed in an age where cyber crime is clearly a widespread threat. However, it will only have its intended effect if SME bosses recognise their value and make IT security jobs available. By doing so, they will be able to avoid a host of information security problems, such as those experienced in recent months by some large companies; eBay, for instance, lost a number of customers after its handling of a data breach that occurred in May.

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