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Multi-Disciplinary Cooperation for Cyber Security, Legal and Digital Forensics Education (ConSoLiDatE)

Researchers

Professor Ali E. Abdallah, Dr Esther Palomar, and Dr Sayed Naqvi, Centre for Cyber Security, Birmingham City University.

Professor Anne Flanagan and Professor Ian Walden, Institute of Computer and Telecommunications Law, Queen Mary University of London.

Background

Cyber Security education within the UK suffers from an acute shortage of open education resources providing credible case study information. ConSoLiDatE brings together two leading educational centres and an expert group of practitioners to develop intellectually stimulating modern scenarios reflecting real case studies that will engage students and promote critical thinking. Through this, it will support the UK government’s drive for building the UK’s cyber security knowledge, skills and capability as outlined in its National Cyber Security Programme.

Aim of research

This project aims to:

  • Develop educational resources to aid in the transmission of cyber security knowledge, digital forensic investigations, and related legal principles, as relevant to cyber security, forensic, and legal experts
  • Aid the provision of educational audio-visual resources that facilitate active student learning, debate, critical thinking and classroom engagement
  • Develop strong links between theory and practice through consolidation of student’s understanding of principles by examining applicability to carefully constructed practical scenarios.
Method of research

This project is predominantly focussed on the collective development of specialised educational material by domain experts and on the delivery of this material to students at the partner’s institution. ConSoLiDatE materials will be prepared as a practice-based pedagogy to fill gaps in the education of related subjects. For example, at Birmingham City University, in addition to the newly developed Cyber Security MSc course, the material is useful to other degrees in computing, digital media, digital forensic and engineering as well as in criminology and business management.

The ConSoLiDatE dissemination strategy will help other higher education institutions to use its resources to enhance their student experience, encourage self-paced learning and facilitate deeper understanding of complex concepts through fostering stronger links between theory and practice. Also, the supportive environment enabled by this HEA grant for creating multi-disciplinary cross institutions collaboration may act as a catalyst for encouraging future much-needed mutually beneficial collaborations between cyber security and other disciplines such as psychology, business and criminology.

Outcomes

Active student engagement

  • Students will be actively involved in analysing given scenarios either as individuals or as teams. These scenarios will be carefully constructed to deepen student understanding of key concepts and to enable them to make stronger links between theory and practice.

Course module: 'Cyber Security essentials'

  • This module will provide careful exposition of the subject relevant to law students. For instance, with a deeper appreciation of cyber threats and effective methods for assessing their impacts, law students will be able to prepare better legal “service level agreement” for their clients using Cloud services.

Course module: 'Cyber Law essentials'

  • This module will provide an insight into how English law relates to cyber protection and the legal scope of digital investigations under different situations. This careful exposition of the subject will enable a cyber-security specialist to analyse legal implications of collecting, maintaining, communicating and processing information as well as testing and probing computer systems. Real-life case studies will be presented by lawyers who practice cases related to cyber incidents and appear as digital forensic expert witness in the legal case hearings.

Course module: 'Digital Forensic Investigation essentials'

  • This module will provide careful exposition of the subject relevant to both law and cyber security students. It focuses on modern techniques for analysing cyber security breaches as well as on best practices for handling digital evidence in forensically sound manner. One of the main focus areas will be on practical case studies and the admissibility of evidence in UK court.

Web-based collaborative platform

  • All the course modules will be available in multimedia format on the ConSoLiDatE Collaborative Platform even beyond the completion of ConSoLiDatE.

A repository of intellectually stimulating scenarios

  • This repository will constitute scenario based learning resources and will be collectively delivered through collaboration among all the partners. A strong emphasis is placed on professional practice and the lessons learned from experience through the incorporation of carefully selected case studies. These scenarios will encourage critical thinking, link theory to practice and make complex material much easier to digest.