Cybersecurity: What keeps me up at night!

Oxford e-Research Centre

17 May 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Dr Jason R. C. Nurse
Research Fellow
Department of Computer Science & Wolfson College, University of Oxford

Our world is driven by technology and while it offers a variety of benefits to society, it also exposes us to a series of new and complex cybersecurity risks. These can relate to how we conduct business, how we engage with colleagues, family and friends, or even how organisations and individuals interact with new platforms such as social media and the internet-of-things. In this talk, Dr Jason Nurse will explore these issues from the perspective of Cybersecurity. His talk begins with a brief discussion of what cybersecurity is, and then moves on to a detailed presentation of some of the significant challenges facing cybersecurity practice and research. Topics that will be covered include: the challenge of social engineering and why it is one of the most popular attacks today; the internet-of-things and its security and privacy implications; and how criminals use social media as a key platform for intelligence gathering on potential targets. These are all topics that will become critical in the future as society grows and technology becomes even more embedded into our daily lives.

About the Speaker

Dr Jason R. C. Nurse

Dr Jason R.C. Nurse is a Research Fellow in the field in Computer Science,  Visiting Fellow in Defence and Security at Cranfield University, and Professional Member of the British Computing Society (MBCS).

His research concentrates on pursuing novel, interdisciplinary approaches to enhance and maintain cybersecurity for organisations and individuals. This considers the full spectrum of technologies in use today and encompasses topics such as corporate security, privacy and security in the internet-of-things systems, risk assessment in complex systems, identity security in cyberspace, cybercrime and fake news and rumours on social media.


Sandwiches and light refreshments are served from 6:30.

Meetings are open to both members and non-members and free.

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As part of our endeavour to reach out to the community, we try each Christmas to include a wider and younger audience. We advertised this evening as a fun family event, suitable for 10+. There were 46 attendees of whom 15 were children mostly in the 11 to 16 age group. It was a resounding success, with children, adults, novices and experts alike enjoying the various activities on offer. All feedback at the end of the evening was excellent.

The evening had a computing bias, of course, and was based around the BBC Micro:bit. This is a small microcontroller – it has a pixilated ‘screen’ on the front made of 25 LEDs. Two buttons you can use to control it and loads of other interesting features. In an ambitious program, up to one million BBC Micro:bits have been delivered free to 11 years olds in schools in England, Scotland and Wales.

Science Oxford hosted us at their Oxford centre, we had The Pod and a basement area. Three members of their staff provided the backbone of the activities.

In The Pod area we had the Micro:bit challenge, the Micro:bit needed a bit of simple coding to bring it to life. This was very popular with adults too. There was a separate raffle for a Micro:bit for an adult and a child. We had an evil competition – for experienced coders, a Micro:bit had been programmed to broadcast a Christmas message, the challenge was to code a Micro:bit as a receiver and decode from Morse code. The most ‘elegant’ code won a commemoration BCS mug. And a treasure trail, picking up key words distributed around the two floors. This was really for children but adults took part also to gain a raffle ticket to win a commemoration mug.

In the basement was the robotics obstacle course. A robotic car, built from a kit, with a pre-programmed Micro:bit in the car and a Micro:bit as the hand held controller. The seemingly simple course was in the shape of a Christmas tree, laid out on the floor with presents as obstacles, the objective was to get to the star as quickly possible with time penalties for mishaps. There was a practice slope. A young girl won the prize, a robot car kit. There were a set of screens for people to work out how to programme the two Micro:bits to control the robotic car. That was very busy too.

Another activity in the basement was to design, on paper, an amusing Micro:bit animation. The winner designed a twinkling star and was awarded a commemorative mug.

A buffet, with mulled wine for the adults, was served in the reception area.

Science Oxford had spare kits and Micro:bits available for sale and did a brisk trade.