GCHQ decodes the best in cyber security degrees for intelligence types [Western Daily Press (UK)]
(Western Daily Press (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Britain's intelligence services have long been staffed with graduates from Britain's finest universities - but now GCHQ is endorsing specific academic courses.
The stereotype of gifted linguists and mathematicians getting a tap on the shoulder from in-the-know Oxbridge dons who acted as recruiters for MI5 and MI6 once had more than a kernel of truth in it.
And, of course, the most infamous traitors in British intelligence history, the Cambridge spy-ring, were recruited at the university.
Now, however, a far more professional approach to recruitment is undertaken, evidenced by the certification of specific degrees in cyber security by GCHQ.
The move was announced by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he visited Cheltenham-based GCHQ yesterday, as part of the National Cyber Security Programme.
It recognises education as key to the development of cyber security skills and, earlier in the year, UK universities were invited to submit their Cyber Security Master's degrees for certification against GCHQ's stringent criteria for a broad foundation in Cyber Security. A further call for master's certification will take place in late 2014 and will be extended to degrees which are focused on critical areas of cyber security such as digital forensics. The six successful universities concerned are Edinburgh Napier University (MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics), Lancaster University (MSc in Cyber Security), University of Oxford (MSc in Software and Systems Security), Royal Holloway, University of London (MSc in Information Security). Two of the courses were given provisional certified status - Cranfield University (MSc in Cyber Defence and Information Assurance) and University of Surrey (MSc in Information Security). Nigel Smart, Professor of Cryptology, University of Bristol, said: "I am delighted to have been appointed as Independent chair of the panel that assessed applications and am excited that GCHQ has introduced this rigorous standard for judging general Cyber Security Master''s Degrees."
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