School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

UKZN Academics Present at Online International Cyber Security Conference

Two UKZN academics, Dr Trishana Ramluckan (Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Law) and Dr Brett van Niekerk (Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science) co-chaired a special track on cyber-operations and international relations and contributed to three papers presented at the 19th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security hosted online by the University of Chester in the United Kingdom.

The research presented included an assessment of national perspectives on international humanitarian law in cyberspace; a framework for implementing a cyber-secure organisational culture based on change management; and a proposed ontology for “target acquisition” to respond to cyber-attacks. Professor Isabel Martins from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance also contributed to the change management paper, while the other two papers were collaborations with Mr Tim Grant (retired but active researcher, The Netherlands), Dr Daniel Ventre (Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales [CESDIP], France), and Ms Carien van’t Wout (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research).

In addition, van Niekerk participated in a plenary panel on “self-defence” in cyberspace with researchers from the US, Germany and The Netherlands chaired by the conference host, Dr Thaddeus Eze from the University of Chester. He also presented an abstract-only talk related to modelling state responses to cyber-incidents. In total, there were 32 presentations in the main streams and special tracks, eight presentations in the PhD and Master’s tracks, and two key notes and the plenary panel.

Cybersecurity concerns have increased globally, as well as in South Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in cyber-crime activity as criminals target people working from home and provide themed scams. Recent cyber-attacks between Iran and Israel have affected critical infrastructure, and just a week before the conference Australia announced being targeted by a state-backed cyber-campaign.

Ramluckan joined the College of Law and Management Studies in 2017 as the Postgraduate Research Facilitator, where she provided training and support to postgraduates and assisted with curriculum development. In 2019 she began a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Law, where her research interests include IT governance and legislation in international relations and education.

Van Niekerk was an Honorary Research Fellow with UKZN from July 2014 and joined Computer Science in a permanent capacity in December 2017. He currently lectures the honours network security module, and modules from first and second-year. His research interests include national and international cybersecurity and privacy and cybersecurity in Higher Education. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism and associate editor for the International Journal of Information Security and Privacy.

Words: NdabaOnline

Photographs: Supplied