[Press Release] Malaysia’s First Integrated CyberSecurity Talent Zone Launched at Asia Pacific University

Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2018: Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) unveils Malaysia's first Cyber Security Talent Zone located within a University, at its campus in Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil today.

The launch of the CyberSecurity Talent Zone is officiated by YB Tuan Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Communications & Multimedia, accompanied by YBhg Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and YBhg Datuk Parmjit Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of APIIT Education Group.

At his welcome speech, Datuk Parmjit Singh mentioned, “The launch of the APU Cybersecurity Talent Zone is indeed a major milestone for us, and provides us with the perfect platform for us to make a quantum leap to the next level in our Cybersecurity, Forensics and IOT talent development efforts. This is a prime example of the power of partnerships, and in this regard we are grateful to MDEC for their leadership, dedicated support and active participation, as well as our partners TecForte Sdn Bhd (Malaysia), PGI Ltd (UK) and Cyber Test Systems (France) for their invaluable contributions in making this a reality. Through these international partnerships, the APU Cybersecurity Talent Zone is perhaps the most advanced facility of its kind within a Malaysian University.”

The aim of setting up the CyberSecurity Talent Zone within APU’s campus is to address industry’s pressing need for technically competent CyberSecurity professionals. The exposure received by APU students in this Talent Zone is indeed invaluable. APU partnered with MDEC and industry partners in this truly International initiative, which includes infrastructure and services from at least three countries – a Security Operations Centre (SOC) set up in collaboration with TecForte Sdn Bhd from Malaysia, a comprehensive Cyber Range set up together with Cyber Test Systems from France, and UK GCHQ accredited “UK GCHQ Security Operations Centre – Incident Responder (SOC-IR) Program provided by PGI Ltd.

Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) commented: "Malaysia is vitally aware of the importance of future-proofing the cybersecurity sector, especially to ensure that the nation’s digital economy continues to thrive. It is more critical than ever before to fortify and strengthen Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem with strategic initiatives, especially through public-private sector collaboration such as today's integrated cybersecurity talent zone."

Datuk Yasmin added that this move followed the launch of an industry-driven up-skilling talent development initiative with APU, UK's PGI and TecForte under MDEC's Platform for Real Industry Driven Project Exchange (PRIDE) programme with the aim of transforming cybersecurity challenges into sustainable economic growth.

"In this Industrial Revolution 4.0 era, our education programmes and initiatives are expanding beyond just preparing for career employment; for digital transformation, learning must continue right through the whole of life," continued Datuk Yasmin.  "Collaborative digital education and training initiatives will play an increasingly vital role in creating opportunities and preparing our workforce with relevant industry-based skillsets that are aligned to industry needs."

The CyberSecurity Talent Zone features a fully-functional Security Operations Centre (SOC) that allows students to have hands-on cybersecurity operations experience. The facility, supported by TecForte Sdn Bhd with training and development by PGI, allows APU’s Cyber Security students to actively analyse occurrences of cyber-attacks and plan counteractive measures towards cyber threats through real-time data.

TecForte Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia-based expert in Security Management Solution and Advisory, has been part of APU’s industry partnership panel since 2016. Under the industry-academic partnership, Tecforte has been supporting APU’s cyber security education via its ELITE (Elevating IT Education) Program, as well as collaboration on Internship & Postgraduate Research.

TecForte’s ELITE aims to partner with 10 selected universities in Malaysia and the ASEAN region to produce 10,000 ELITE Program graduates and 150 ELITE trainers by 2025,” said Kho Han Yao, CEO of TecForte Sdn Bhd.

In addition, a full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre (also known as Cyber Defence Centre – CDC) is also included within the Cyber Security Talent Zone, supported and sponsored by Cyber Test Systems of France (via Cyber Intelligence Sdn Bhd) with equipment valued around RM2.4 million. The Cyber Defence Centre incorporates latest technologies and a cyber-defense system (also known as Cyber Range) that can simulate highly complex cyber-attacks in a hyper realistic environment, enabling cyber security professionals and students to understand and formulate defence strategies, and practice the entire chain of cyber defence, while preparing them to deal with real cyber threat attack when it happens.

Students will be exposed to the usage of the facilities in their Year 2 and Year 3 of studies, in which they will be required to complete assignments and group projects in the SOC and CDC to produce accurate cyber threat reports based on the real-time data. With the use of Data Analytics, data collected can be used in both academia and industry environments for research purposes, to create innovative solutions to combat future threats in the cyber world.

With the strategic partnerships, APU & its industry partners aim to build the next generation of highly skilled cyber defenders for academia, businesses, government and service providers.

Other facilities within the Cyber Security Talent Zone include the Centre for Research and Development in IoT (CREDIT) and the Centre for Forensics & Cyber Security (FSec) that are designed to provide a wide spectrum of advanced technologies and tools for the usage of students, academia and the relevant industry partners.

Some details of other facilities within the Cyber Security Talent Zone are as follow:

  • The Centre for Research and Development in IoT (CREDIT), powered by technologies from MDEC, Mimos, IBM, SAP, FavorIoT, Iconix, Semtech and other various industry partners feature an array of display of latest IoT-enabled devices and solutions. Workshops, projects and lecture classes will be conducted in the IoT Learning Labs, whereas the Project Innovation Room provides the facility for students to conduct research and develop innovative IoT products and solutions.
  • The Forensics Mock Court serves as an avenue for students to be exposed to real-world practices in forensic evidence presentation, particularly when it comes to presenting findings of cyber security investigation reports, traces of digital footprints and so on.
  • The Centre for Forensics & Cyber Security (FSec) serves as a sophisticated research centre for undergraduate and postgraduate students to conduct research on digital assets protection, cyberspace activities, cybercrime investigations and incident handling and responses based on the provided facilities. Moving forward, the Centre will also host industrial talks by partners from the industry in which the facility will be utilised as an industrial networking zone as well.