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Prestigious nomination for Northumbria cyber security students

19th April 2024

Two Northumbria University cyber security students have been shortlisted at the globally recognised Cyber Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs) 2024.

The nominations come as part of their extracurricular activity working as cyber security consultants for the North East Business Resilience Centre (NEBRC), a police-led, non-profit organisation which supports and helps protect businesses across the North East from cybercrime.

Jack Gooday, who studies Computer Networks and Cyber Security at Northumbria and Cosmin Bianu, a Masters student in Advanced Computer Science at the University, were nominated by the senior team at the NEBRC and are hopeful to win the title of Outstanding Young Cyber Security Professional when the OSPAs award ceremony takes place later in April. 

Caption: Martin Wilson, Detective Inspector and Head of Student Services at the NEBRC with Cosmin Bianu and Chris Tait, a Cyber Essentials Partner at the NEBRC.

Martin Wilson, Detective Inspector and Head of Student Services at the NEBRC said: “Jack and Cosmin are two outstanding young cybersecurity professionals, who have been an absolute pleasure to work with. They are soon coming to the end of their time with the NEBRC and I will miss working with them when they graduate to pastures new. 

“During their time with us, they have thrown themselves at various cyber security challenges with enthusiasm, dedication and reliability. Both students are role models for others to follow and have utilised their skills and knowledge to successfully protect SMEs across sectors. 

“It is no coincidence that the NEBRC is up for a separate award at the OSPAs, a partnership award where we showcase our partnership between policing, the private sector and education stakeholders to secure schools across our region, and Jack and Cosmin spearheaded most of that work. 

“As I contemplate their well-deserved recognition, I find myself torn on who should win, their collective achievements make it challenging to single out one over the other. It has been a privilege to work alongside them, and the impact they've made will undoubtedly resonate far beyond their time with us.”

The NEBRC and Northumbria University have been working together for a number of years, offering real-world, hands-on experience in the cyber security industry.

Associate Professor Biju Issac is the Director of Northumbria Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) and is Head of Subject (Networks and Cyber Security) within Northumbria’s Department of Computer and InformationSciences (CIS).

Caption: Jack Gooday with the Chief Constable of Humberside Police receiving a commendation for his work.

Speaking about Northumbria’s partnership with NEBRC, he said: “With help from Northumbria’s cyber security students working part-time as ethical hackers for NEBRC, many business networks have been made secure from cyber-attacks. The police, university and businesses working together is a great example of productive collaboration.

“Jack and Cosmin are two outstanding students who were appointed as ethical hackers. The skills they have acquired through working with external clients will be very helpful, whether they pursue a career in cyber security or continue in higher education or research. Getting real-world work experience whilst studying for a degree is an example of experiential learning that the university supports highly. On behalf of the Department of CIS, we would like to congratulate Jack and Cosmin for their OSPAs award nominations and wish them good luck.”

The North East Business Resilience Centre, also known as the NEBRC supports SMEs in the North East and Yorkshire region. Partnering with educational institutions, cyber organisations and the police, the NEBRC makes cybersecurity more accessible to businesses of all sizes, offering free core membership and a range of wider resources. 

A recent assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, named Northumbria as one of just 21 universities across the UK to be awarded ACE-CSR status for the next five years (2024-2029), in recognition of its internationally leading research in this field.

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