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Nurturing cybersecurity skills in the birthplace of computer science

Categories: Cyber Security


Technology has provided the toys that will once again make Black Hat USA the playground of the digital world.

But not everyone wants to play nice and for all the brilliantly positive innovations that will be talked about, touched and tinkered with at this year’s business festival, there’s one concern that keeps everyone in this increasingly connected world awake at night: locking down our technology as cyberattacks become more commonplace.

The internet of things is now becoming a reality of our daily lives. Criminals and nations are apparently working harder than ever to undermine the efforts of rivals. We need to be prepared and Manchester, a city region at the heart of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse, has the experience to help.

It’s clear that cyberattacks on global digital infrastructure are becoming increasingly potent – the 2017 WannaCry ransomware hit major organisations across the US and the UK and had an impact across the world.

In the digital age, where data can be held to ransom with demands for large amounts of cash or information, cybersecurity has never been more relevant or in demand.

Manchester is leading the way in defending assets connected to the World Wide Web from hackers, and the boom in cybersecurity businesses in Manchester shows the growing demand for cybersecurity expertise.

As a Top 20 European Digital City and an emerging hotspot for companies specialising in security both big and small, Manchester is emerging as a recognised market destination for key cybersecurity experts including home-grown companies like NCC Group and Secarma to global giants such as Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

This is because the city has well established roots in technology. It is the home of the world’s first stored-program computer, nicknamed ‘Baby’, which was built at The University of Manchester (UoM) in 1948 – sixty years ago this year.

It was in the UoM’s computer science division that Dr Alan Turing worked on pioneering research into artificial intelligence.

Manchester’s universities continue to make great strides in the digital space today. Some 24,000 students are currently enrolled on creative, digital & tech courses at universities around Manchester, including UoM, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford and a further 22 other universities within an hour’s drive from Manchester. The region’s universities are also collaborating on a new cyber innovation research programme called the Cyber Foundry aimed at developing business innovation.

Alongside university education, the city is committed to growing opportunities for young people; over 220 code clubs have opened at primary schools, the UK’s intelligence and security organisation GCHQ are running summer schools in Manchester, and apprenticeships on cybersecurity are in the pipeline.

Greater Manchester is a key part of the North West’s Cyber Security Cluster and the North West is one of the UK’s most prevalent with over 120 companies operating in this area.

Major corporations who are firmly invested in Manchester, including BBC, Barclays and BNY Mellon, all see the importance of cybersecurity in our digital age, each employing teams of experts to keep data and consumers safe from possible attacks.

Manchester is also leading on innovative ideas to strengthen protection online, and major conferences like CyberUK and IP Expo visit the city on a regular basis, proving Manchester’s place as a key player in the digital and technology sector.

Manchester can stake a claim to be the birthplace of computer science and continues to play a vital role in protecting the world’s digital assets today.

If you're attending Black Hat USA, click here to book a meeting with Andrew Toolan, Business Development Manager at MIDAS and find out how your company can benefit from Manchester's cybersecurity scene. 

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