Television series inspires a Masters of Cyber Security
23 June 2017
Craig Scoon’s introduction to cyber security began as a burnt-out, unemployed McDonald’s restaurant manager binge watching NCIS on Australia’s Gold Coast. Five years on, he has a Master of Cyber Security (MCS) from the University of Waikato and is working as a Risk Advisory Consultant for the Cyber Team at Deloitte.
Unemployed and with little to fill his days on the Gold Coast, Craig admits he watched seven seasons of the hit American criminal investigation television series, NCIS. He says the show inspired him to study computer science at the University of Waikato with the goal of “working for a US intelligence agency like the FBI or NSA”.
Craig left the Gold Coast to study a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Waikato in 2012. Despite being an NCIS super-fan, his idea of computer science extended only to the idea that “viruses are bad”. He decided to study law papers at the end of his second year to better understand cyber law. He says these papers were fundamental in his decision to study a MCS in 2016.
Craig’s MCS research focussed on data privacy laws throughout the Asia Pacific, European Union and the United States. He says because of this, his studies presented him with many international opportunities. He received a scholarship from the Cloud Security Alliance, which allowed him to travel to Singapore for Cloud Asia. He was involved in organising 2017’s International Organization for Standardization Event in Hamilton, where he travelled to Abu Dhabi to gain insight into how the event would operate. While there he was also able to meet privacy professionals from around the world to assist with his MCS research.
“I recommend all students consider a career in cyber security at the University of Waikato,” says Craig. He says the University is leading the way in postgraduate cyber security research. “Cyber security is such an interesting topic and can be looked at from so many viewpoints: technical, legal, and social,” he says. “There’s so much to learn as the cyber landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s always exciting and there are always new jobs.”
“The learning environment is a reason to study cyber security at Waikato,” says Craig. He credits Associate Professor Ryan Ko, who established the first MCS and first Cyber Security Lab in New Zealand, as a big influence on this environment. He says Ryan has done an “amazing job” creating the Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW) and creating a positive and supportive culture around the lab.
Craig says he is putting his MCS to good use in his position at Deloitte. His work is diverse, working with a range of clients in varying areas, including cyber incident responses, researching cyber security trends and helping to identifying security risks and validating the controls they have in place.
As for the future, apart from being “retired and rich”, Craig would still someday like to work for an intelligence agency, maybe the FBI, CIA or GCSB. “However, for now I am enjoying the challenges and experience I am gaining through my consultancy role with Deloitte, and have been fortunate to get this opportunity ꟷ so who knows, this may be my future.”
There's an increasing international demand for trained cyber security professionals. The University of Waikato’s Master of Cyber Security is the first of its kind to be offered in New Zealand.