Published: 16 May 2014

Computing professor becomes academic adviser on cybercrime

Professor Alan Woodward has been appointed as an academic adviser to EC3, the Europol agency set up to fight cybercrime.

A growing threat to the national security of EU countries and the safety and livelihood of its people, cybercrime is one of the greatest challenges for law enforcement agencies. It is estimated that victims of cybercrime lose around €290 billion each year worldwide: more than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.

EC3 (European Cybercrime Centre) has appointed Surrey’s Visiting Professor Alan Woodward as one of three academics, each of whom are experts in cyber security, to help combat this problem. Along with renowned academics from the University of Oxford and the University of Cardiff, Professor Woodward has been appointed as an academic adviser for an initial period of two years.

The academic advisory board will assist EC3 – part of the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol – by assessing the security of end products, contributing to reports and documentation, acting as ‘devil’s advocate’, and generally helping to raise awareness of the problems posed by internet based crime. One of the key projects the board will be working on is an annual Internet Serious Crime Threat Assessment, the first version of which is due to be published in September 2014.

Professor Woodward explained, “Cybercrime is by its nature a global problem: the internet criminals do not have to respect national borders in the same way that law enforcement agencies do. Organisations such as EC3 are therefore vital in removing that cross border advantage that criminals possess.

“In countries where local law enforcement does not have the scale or expertise to tackle cybercrime, EC3 can bring to bear the full weight of European expertise to all corners of the EU and, via wider collaboration, beyond.”

He added, “Through this new role I hope to be able to make a real difference by adding my expertise to the considerable amount already available in EC3. It will also enable me to access a broader knowledge base as a means of informing the activities of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security, helping to ensure that its activities remain relevant to what is happening in the world.”

A Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, Professor Woodward has many years’ experience in the government and commercial world in the field of information security, and has been involved in some leading-edge developments in related areas. His work at Surrey began with his appointment as an adviser on the Department of Computing’s Industrial Advisory Board. He has published extensively on the subject of cyber security, particularly in the wider press, where he has aimed to distil the many – and often confusing – sources of data. He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Royal Statistical Society and the Institute of Physics.

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