NAB and La Trobe Uni infosec alliance covers R&D, workforce development

Bank and university announce cyber secrutiy ‘strategic alliance’

NAB and La Trobe University will collaborate on cyber security research and training as part of a new ‘strategic alliance’ detailed by the organisations today.

NAB’s chief information security officer, Nicholas McKenzie, will join La Trobe’s Cybersecurity Executive Advisory Board as part of the pact, which covers R&D, graduate recruitment, and NAB workforce development.

The two organisations said the alliance could potentially lead to co-investment in a security operations centre or a ‘cyber laboratory’.

“We are delighted to join forces with NAB as one of Australia’s leading banks to create new knowledge, find solutions for industry problems, and train the cyber workforce of the future,” La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said in a statement.

“Partnering with NAB will provide us with an added level of invaluable expertise. We are already researching the latest malware detection and sensing techniques, and the opportunity to expand this research to areas such as data detection and forensics analysis will benefit all Australians.”

In a statement released by the bank and the university, the two organisations said the alliance would include NAB working with researchers “to develop technical solutions, leading to commercialisation opportunities, in cyber intelligence, protection, digital forensics, reverse engineering, malware detection and response”.

The bank’s staff will also participate as guest or seasonal lectures for the university’s Master of Cybersecurity and contribute to curriculum development as a member of the Optus La Trobe Cybersecurity Hub Advisory Committee. NAB will propose “operational, technical, legal and business research questions” for students undertaking their Masters as well as offer scholarships and internships.

The two organisations will also work on developing and implementing security courses for NAB staff.

“This partnership marks an important step towards furthering the cybersecurity capabilities within academia and industry alike,” said NAB chief enterprise security officer, David Fairman.

“At NAB, we have a mature security practice, with protecting customers at the very heart. We’re thrilled to join forces with La Trobe to gain deeper insights, identify threats more effectively and help shape the future curriculum for the next generation.”

The Optus La Trobe Cyber Security Research Hub was launched in 2018, building on an alliance formed between the university and Optus Business in 2016.

In July 2019, NAB revealed that it was contacting 13,000 of its customers that were affected by a data breach.

The bank said that a range of personal information including names, dates of birth, contact details and in some cases, the number of a government-issued ID document, such as a driver’s licence number, was erroneously uploaded to the servers of two “data service companies”.

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