Giving expert thought to cyber security

 As his visit to Deakin University as part of the ‘Thinkers in Residence’ program came to a close, the words Professor Yuliang Zheng used to describe the program were simple: ‘a great idea, excellent’.

Professor Zheng, from the Department of Software and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, is known as the father of signcryption technology which is now an international standard for data security. His pioneering research into immunising public key encryption against adaptive attacks has been embodied in numerous international standards for public key cryptography, including those from ISO, IEEE and IETF.

Professor Lynn Batten, coordinator of the Securing Cyberspace Research Laboratory in Deakin’s School of Information Technology, is a collaborator of Professor Zheng and the lab was instrumental in organising his visit (from late June to mid-August).

While Professor Zheng was at Deakin, he and Professor Batten planned a joint journal paper on tensions over data access between governments and business, to be developed over the next year or so. They also agreed to collaborate on an ARC Discovery grant application for the next round.

Professor Zheng was also instrumental in offering advice and guidance on final revisions to a journal paper on electronic cash by Professor Batten and Professor Xun Yi (Victoria University, Melbourne). He also assisted several PhD students with advice on their projects and is now an associate supervisor of a Deakin PhD student.

During his visit, Professor Zheng gave two public lectures - the first sharing his personal experience in commercialising and standardising scholarly research and the second discussing public key cryptography for cloud computing - and presented three research seminars.

‘That was quite exciting for me as well because the format of the seminars was half my presentation and the other half basically discussion,’ Professor Zheng explains.

‘I wanted to motivate the students to participate in the discussion. So overall, I think it was great... there was a lot of discussion. The seminars were just one hour - not enough!’ he laughs.

As a leader in his field, Professor Zheng was asked if he had any thoughts for students considering a career in this area.

‘I think cyber security definitely is one of the very good areas to be in for future jobs, because the security issues are getting bigger and bigger over time and, from small business all the way to large, as well as government agencies, they are all looking for experts, professionals who can actually help protect information assets. So I think it definitely is an area for students to look into considering future job opportunities and, not to mention, you know it actually pays pretty good!’

Read more about Deakin’s ‘Thinkers in Residence’ program.


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