Cyber Security, Networking and Big Data Research Group

Digital code

Our Cyber Security, Networking and Big Data (CSNBD) research group has close working strategic relationships with industry, professional bodies, law enforcement, government agencies and academia in the delivery of operationally focused applied information and application security research.

We have strong international links with professional organisations, including OWASP, BCS, ISC2, IISP & the UK Cyber Security Forum.

The primary aims of CSNBD are to help the UK and partner nations tackle cyber crime, be more resilient to cyber attacks and educate its users for a more secure cyberspace and operational business environment.

The objectives of our group are to undertake research in the following areas:

  • investigation into the nature of threats posed to information systems by malware and other attack vectors and understanding the impact of a potential attack
  • creation of cyber-based warning systems capable of gathering threat intelligence, automating and learning threat detection, alerting, and neutralising network-based attacks targeted at an organisation’s information infrastructure, whilst minimising the actual amount of big data captured
  • securing the next generation of software defined infrastructures from the application API and control/data plane attacks
  • investigation of issues relating to the handling and seizure of digital evidence at crime scenes, forensic analysis tools and techniques and evidence visualization
  • investigation and development of tools and techniques to provide educational and competitive cyber security challenge opportunities for organisations to enrich the next generation of cyber security professionals, encouraging developers to think like attackers and adopt red team vs blue team approaches
  • development of application security educational initiatives to balance the need for secure coding and fostering security cultures in businesses from the board level down
  • applying expertise in machine learning, data mining and software defined networks to make cyber threat big data more manageable, in areas such as Smart Cities, IoT & ICS

The CSNBD research group incorporates a Cisco Networking Academy Programme (CNAP). The goal of which is to bring infrastructure technologies and techniques to a wider audience and research new ways of applying them. CNAP is large and well established in the East of England and recognised by Cisco Systems as being a Leading Networking Academy in the UK, which has both the Academy Support Centre and Instructor Training Centre status.

Support and training is provided to a number of academies ranging from local secondary schools through to prestigious universities. Training is provided from the full range of academy courses including: IT Essentials, CCNA, CCNA Security and CCNP. A range of Cisco certified modules are also embedded into our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and the Cisco team actively participates in curriculum development providing regular webinar technical sessions to our Academy members.

Please contact our CNAP Director, Dr Erika Sanchez-Velazquez for further details.

We offer our Computer Science PhD. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for you as a postgraduate research student.


Adrian Winckles (Director)
Dr Erika Sanchez-Velazquez (CNAP Director)
Dr Mark Graham

Research students

Philip Payne
Ronak Al-Haddad
Mansur Dankaura
Belema Agborubere

Activities, projects and partnerships

Members of our research group have participated in the following projects and partnerships:

  • Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe): is a collaboration between the SETsquared Partnership, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Innovate UK to provide funding for university researchers with commercially promising Cyber Security ideas to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace. As part of the Government’s five-year National Cyber Security Strategy, we were awarded funding to promote the BotProbe project (January–March 2017).
  • European English Centre of Excellence for Cybercrime Research and Education (ECENTRE) (2013 – 2014).

Members of our research group have also organised the following:

  • Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)(Cambridge chapter), UK Cyber Security Forum (Cambridge group) and BCS Cybercrime Forensics joint industry event (January 2018), focusing on ‘Cyber Security and AI (Artificial Intelligence)’.
  • OWASP, British Computing Society (BCS), Cybercrime Forensics and BCS DevSecOPs Specialist Groups joint event (October 2017), focused on ‘Social media fake news forensics’ with over 100 delegates registered.
  • OWASP Cambridge Chapter research group and industry event meeting (September 2017). Focusing on a secure coding presentation & tournament, with a total of 50 software developers, security professionals, degree apprentices and students attending in Cambridge.
  • OWASP European conference on Web Application Security (2014) with over four hundred participant and presentations from leaders in academic and industry from around the world.