Networks and Intelligence

A socio-technical perspective examines the intersection between people and technology. Within the context of cybersecurity this means being able to understand the social implications of technology and is particularly significant in areas such a data breaches of private information. When our personal data is stored online, we must ask about the security of this data. What are the ethics behind cybersecurity? Is everyone on an even playing field? Our experts are at the cutting edge of these debates in order to develop their own ideas and arguments.

Those with training in this area can expect many new opportunities opening up as the sector grows. For example, in 2015, the Australian Government estimated that the demand for computer security experts would grow by 21.1 per cent over 5 years (by 9,100 jobs). That’s well above wider ICT professional employment growth of 16.1 per cent and overall Australian job growth of 10 per cent over the same period.

We understand the scale of the cybersecurity challenge for Australia. This includes the social factors informing individuals, organisations, and national attitudes towards cybersecurity. We are actively working in fields as diverse as:

  • security of intelligent transport systems,
  • vehicular security,
  • Internet of Things security,
  • wireless, multimedia, and sensor network security.
  • detecting anomalies from Big data
  • identifying vulnerabilities of SCADA from data
  • identifying vulnerabilities through Smart Grid measurement data
  • data privacy and data forensics analysis
  • data stream analysis and sampling
  • cyber-enabled war, ADF strategies and capability
  • assessing mission-critical aspects of cyber-attack and defence
  • cyber intrusions, detection and forensics
  • cyber education and skilling
  • human aspects of cyber security and privacy
  • cyber dependency and resilience of critical national infrastructure
  • diplomatic responses and national cyber security policy
  • ethics in cyber space
  • intrusion detection in a corporate network through middleware
  • security and penetration testing
  • protocol and system security
  • designing efficient graph algorithms; graph-theoretic optimization
  • phishing
  • malware
  • digital forensics
  • piracy
  • child exploitation

Technical and socio-technical experts

Associate Professor Naveen Chilamkurti

Associate Professor Naveen Chilamkurti serves as the Cyber and Emerging Networks laboratory head.

Naveen serves as the Technical Editor of the highly ranked IEEE Wireless Communications Magazine. Naveen’s expertise is in the security of intelligent transport systems, vehicular security,   Internet of Things security, and   wireless multimedia, and sensor network security.

He has supervised 43 research students at honours, Masters and PhD levels,  and of these  5 PhD students have already graduated.  He has been successful in attracting 20 research grants since 2000 to support PhD Scholarships, fellowships, and travel grants for research collaboration. These include Data61 and Oceania Centre grants.

Dr Abdun Naser Mahmood

Dr Abdun Naser Mahmood is a Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate Coordinator (online) in Cyber Security at La Trobe University.

He has done extensive research in cyber security using data analytics. The main theme of his data science research is inventing efficient algorithms to analyze large amount of data, including clustering; concise representation (summarization) of big data; query processing from streaming data; In the area of cyber security, he has applied these and other machine learning techniques for SCADA security and vulnerability analysis; detecting state-of-the-art attack vectors on Smart Grid; network traffic anomaly detection; and privacy. More specifically, he has established research in the following areas:

  1. Detecting anomalies from Big data
  2. Identifying vulnerabilities of SCADA from data
  3. Identifying new vulnerabilities by analyzing Smart Grid measurement data
  4. Data Privacy and data forensics analysis
  5. Clustering
  6. Data stream analysis and sampling

Mahmood has supervised 7 PhD and Masters students to completion. He has won 7 research grants and received more than $500k in Australian Category 1 funding for research into SCADA security and Intrusion Detection systems.

Dr Omaru Maruatona

Dr Omaru Maruatona is a Cyber security and Machine Learning expert with deep industry and research experience. With a PhD in Machine Learning, Omaru has previously worked with a big Australian bank to develop Machine Learning based fraud detection algorithms. He has also worked for a global financial services company as a Security Analyst and has consulted for PwC Australia in Cyber security architecture and strategy. Omaru is a recognised thought leader in the application of AI and smart cities and has published and spoken at various organisations and conferences in Australia.

Omaru's research areas include include applications of Machine Learning algorithms, Cyber Threat Intelligence systems, API security, Knowledge based systems and Cyber Design and Architecture.

Dr Prakash Veeraraghavan

Dr Prakash Veeraraghavan is a Cyber and network specialist with interests in Network Protocols, OS and Application Security, Cyber Intelligence Analysis, Security in Intelligent Transport System, and Reverse Engineering. He is an excellent C, Python and Assembly Language programmer and has worked as a Regional Technical Advisor for a CIDA project in Malaysia and an ex-member of Malaysian CERT. He holds a patent in a dynamic proxy system and is a certified Cisco instructor. He has successfully supervised a number of PhD students in Networks and Cyber security.

Prakash’s hobbies include vulnerability analysis through Ethical hacking, reverse engineering and promoting security awareness with aging communities.

Professor Paul A. Watters

Professor Paul A. Watters teaches Cybersecurity at the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. Paul  is a prominent cybersecurity researcher, inventor, experienced academic leader and company director. He currently holds an ARC Discovery Grant in child protection, with h-index=25, i10-index=63, citations=2,876, and has supervised 16 research students to completion, and had earned $3m+ in research funding. He is currently Director of three Master of Cybersecurity programs at La Trobe University (Computer Science, Business, Law).

Paul began his first R&D role in security in 2002, joining the CSIRO’s Networking Applications and Technologies (NAT) Group, and leading a programme in secure, distributed storage. After moving to Macquarie University, he established the first cybercrime research laboratory in Australasia in 2006, in partnership with Dr Stephen McCombie, with the support of National Australia Bank (NAB). He also worked as an expert witness, and developed the first cybercrime and cyber terrorism course at an Australian university. He moved to the University of Ballarat in 2008, to become the first Research Director of the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL), a partnership between Westpac, IBM, the State Government of Victoria, and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The ICSL’s goal was to build capability in the cybercrime field, and to make Victoria the state of choice to undertake this type of work. The ICSL produced significant outcomes for its research partners in the areas of threat mitigation (phishing, malware, identity theft, scams, piracy, child exploitation) and intelligence gathering. Paul undertook consultancies for numerous external clients, including the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) and Google. While on sabbatical with the AFP, he developed an approach to detecting drug deals online. In 2013, Paul took up a Professorship in IT at Massey University in New Zealand. He continued his work in online threats, especially focusing on advertising as a vector for malware delivery and social harms.

Paul’s research specialisation in cybersecurity includes: phishing, malware, forensics, piracy, child exploitation.