Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has made significant advances in cybersecurity research and development, as well as in raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity.With the rise of cyber threats, UTM recognises the need for more robust security measures and the crucial role that R&D, education and awareness play in mitigating cyber risks.
According to UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Datuk Ir. Ts. Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, “UTM’s research and development efforts in cyber security are led by its renowned researchers, who have been working tirelessly to identify and address the latest cyber threats facing individuals and organisations.”
Prof Fauzi added, “Through their work, UTM researchers via our Faculty of Computing, Centre of Excellences (CoE) and Research Groups have developed innovative solutions and technologies that are helping to protect sensitive information, systems, and networks from being compromised.”
Cybersecurity Education and Research
In support of this, UTM not only embarks on research to address the needs of the market and industry but also reskilling and developing talents in this area. “We are ranked second (2nd) in Malaysia for Computer Science for 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by Subject and offer a Master of Cybersecurity by Faculty of Computing, as well as several professional programs by Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics.”, he added.
Where else in the R&D sphere, UTM Research Alliance in Smart Digital Community drives research and commercialisation activities in data science and cybersecurity. The university also has strong partnerships with agencies such as Cyber Security Malaysia. UTM has also been accorded a Premier Digital Tech University status by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) since 2017. Additionally, UTM has a reputable Centre of Excellence known as the Big Data Research Centre and the Information Assurance and Security Research Group (IASRG). These centres have embarked on developing “eyeNoon”, a research product that acts as a 4th generation firewall and, at the same time, manages to filter unproductive websites.
On the other hand, UTM has several research groups involved in cybersecurity-related research and consultation. Multimedia Protection (MProtec), Software for Trusted Environment (SoftTrust) and Cyber-Physical System (CPS) are working on Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI), Digital and Vehicle Forensics projects which require digital solutions using AI, data analytics and economic security technologies.
Awareness and Training
Besides research and development, UTM is also actively raising awareness about cybersecurity issues. Through its outreach programs, UTM educates individuals and organisations about protecting themselves from cyber threats.Hence, our academics, researchers and students consistently organise and participate in hackathons to realise this. As an example, during the Algorand-Reach Intervarsity Hackathon in Blockchain 2022, three (3) UTM teams comprising students managed to secure significant wins for projects titled “OWNTRAD”, “PROJECT SMART COURSE”, and “BundleIT”. UTM was also appointed by The National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN) to train government officials this year, involving three (3) levels of certification in Blockchain technology.
Establishment of Academia-Industry Satellite Labs and Innovation Hubs
To ensure sustainable cooperation between academia and industry in this area, UTM has established joint labs and innovation hubs to amplify its impact.
UTM has worked with various companies, including OK Blockchain Centre Sdn, a Japanese software development company. Bhd. (OBC) and Bid Now Sdn. Bhd. and once established the UTM-CSM Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab. Besides that, UTM-Ericsson 5G Innovation Centre has been set up in UTM Kuala Lumpur (UTM KL) since 2016. In 2020, UTM, in collaboration with MDEC and Tecforte, was established by the Security Operation Centre (SOC) Furthermore, UTM has also recently formed a collaboration with the fintech industry, Mastercard. This global partnership involves joint research efforts and proof-of-concept initiatives to identify and mitigate emerging cybersecurity threats and accelerate the implementation of privacy-enhancing technology for financial services in Malaysia by establishing the UTM-Mastercard Cyber Innovation Hub.
The partnership forged with our industry partners will facilitate the development of combined R&D capabilities in select areas of cybersecurity and analytics, paving the way for more significant innovation and collaboration in the field. In partnership with industry and agencies, UTM’s satellite lab and innovation hubs promise to advance cybersecurity education, research, and innovation in Malaysia and beyond. Due to the past and ongoing initiatives, it is evident that UTM is committed to pioneering excellence in research, education, and innovation in cybersecurity as it is needed by the industry and general public to navigate the complex and ever-changing cyber landscape.