Computer Crime Research Center


UOIT unveils plans for Centre for Cybercrime Research

Date: March 21, 2008

OSHAWA, Ont. – The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) took another significant step forward today in the global fight against cybercrime, including the exploitation of children through the Internet, as university leaders officially announced plans for UOIT’s first-ever research centre.

At its last meeting, UOIT’s Board of Governors unanimously endorsed a recommendation from UOIT President Dr. Ronald Bordessa to establish a state-of-the-art Centre for Cybercrime Research that will develop world-recognized solutions to combating cybercriminal activities. The centre will bring together world-class teams of researchers and experts within and outside of UOIT, all with the same objective: to fight Internet-based crime, including cyberbullying and child exploitation.

“The establishment of our first research centre signifies another milestone in UOIT’s rapidly growing reputation for a commitment to research excellence that will impact society,” said Dr. Kamiel Gabriel, associate provost, Research. “While most post-secondary institutions in Canada have some research focused on cybercrime, UOIT’s commitment to the development of this centre will position it as a leader in research work to combat these terrible crimes. The centre will bring together world-class principle investigators with multi-faculty research teams to make a significant difference.”

UOIT is currently working with a number of potential partners to fund construction of the centre, which, upon completion, will establish a separate, permanent location on UOIT’s Oshawa, Ontario campus and will be dedicated to leading-edge research and the training of graduate and undergraduate students in various aspects of cybercrime. In addition, the centre will develop research collaboration agreements with academics and experts from other Canadian and international universities, businesses and government agencies for the design of new and improved standards, structures, software and educational programs to battle cybercrime.

“There is a critical need for Canada and other nations around the world to work together in a more co-ordinated effort to fight cybercrime effectively,” said Dr. Bernadette Schell, dean of UOIT’s Faculty of Business and Information Technology. “Not only will the centre’s research help keep children and families safer, but it will also help protect personal information and help ensure the integrity and secure operation of financial and commercial enterprises throughout the world.”

The centre is a natural extension of UOIT’s strong research work in the area of combating child exploitation. Dr. Miguel Vargas Martin, an assistant professor cross-appointed with the faculties of Engineering and Applied Science and Business and Information Technology, pioneered this research area at UOIT, and is currently developing a computer system aimed at providing network-based capability to identify criminal behaviour on the Internet, particularly involving child exploitation. In addition, Dr. Khalil El-Khatib, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology, is developing a tool to evaluate safe and dangerous Internet traffic.

Paul Gillespie, UOIT’s first cybercrime director-in-residence, also brings extensive global experience to the centre. Gillespie led the team of Canadian law enforcement officials who worked with Microsoft Canada as it developed its Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), software that is being used around the world. He is also an internationally respected law-enforcement investigator and consultant who has worked with numerous organizations including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Interpol, the U.S. Department of Justice and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Squad to develop new technologies that will assist law enforcement and security organizations throughout the world in the fight against child exploitation.

“Thanks to UOIT’s commitment to this centre and the leading researchers on campus already fighting these crimes, the Centre for Cybercrime Research will become an internationally-recognized centre for innovation, educational methods, materials and simulation programs,” said Gillespie. “UOIT students will have unparalleled access to a leading research centre where innovative technologies and programs will be developed to help detect and prevent all types of computer-facilitated crimes, including protecting children in Canada and around the globe from unimaginable harm by the predators who exploit them via the Internet.”

In addition to undertaking research programs, a key focus of the Centre for Cybercrime Research will be to develop a range of commercial products, services and curricula. These focus areas will lead to enhanced academic experiences and intellectual property development, ultimately producing training programs and information exchanges to enable the centre to serve as a venue to train law enforcement officers from around the world.

During the start-up phase, a number of existing UOIT facilities and laboratories will be used for cybercrime research projects, including the innovative Hacker Research, Gaming Development, Cisco Networking, Virtual Reality and Health Informatics labs.

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