Cyber Security @ Heriot-Watt University

Cyber security research and teaching activities take place in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, both in our Edinburgh, UK and Dubai, UAE campuses.

Please take note of our upcoming cyber security events.

Cyber Security Research

Cyber security research takes place across the Department of Computer Science's three research areas: Intelligent Systems, Interaction, and Rigorous Systems. In particular, there are cyber security research activities taking place in several of our research groups.

  • The Complex Systems Laboratory's cyber security activities primarily relate to the use of machine learning for cyber security data analysis.
  • The PUMA lab's cyber security activities focus on the personalisation of privacy with particular emphasis on pervasive systems.
  • The Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies (ITT) group's cyber security activities primarily relate to usable security and privacy.
  • The Dependable Systems (DS) group's cyber security activities primarily relate to system safety and security.
  • The Ultra group's cyber security activities primarily relate to software security.

Current Research Projects -- Rigorous Systems ("Safety & Security")

  1. Border Patrol: Improving Smart Device Security through Type-Aware Systems Design
  2. The Integration and Interaction of Multiple Mathematical Reasoning Processes
  3. Secure system analysis
  4. Blockchain & cryptocurrencies
  5. Security and privacy of cloud computing

Current Research Projects -- Interaction ("Usable Security")

  1. Secure and usable payment systems for mobile devices
  2. Online security and people with autism
  3. Impact of Gamification on Developer-Centred Security

Current Research Projects -- Intelligent Systems ("Data-Driven Security")

  1. Community and Trust in Crisis Management
    • Description: The aim of the project is to allow decision makers in crisis management to quickly access the information they need to make timely decisions by focussing on two factors: how can the data be automatically retrieved from multiple incompatible data sources (data matching/integration) and how can the decision maker know how reliable it is (provenance). This project will produce a system that automatically discovers data according to specific queries that is both relevant (closely aligns semantically with the query) and reliable (aligns with the provenance models of the querier) and ranks these responses according to likely usefulness (combination of relevance and reliability).
    • Investigators: Fiona McNeill, Paolo Missier (Newcastle), Jeremy Bryans (Coventry)
    • Researchers: Diana Bental, Jannetta Steyn (Newcastle)
    • Funder: Office of Naval Research
  2. Insider threat detection modeling
    • Description: The aim of this project is to model and classify insider threats, such as when a person inappropriately shares sensitive company information.
    • Supervisors: Mike Just, Michael Lones
    • PhD student: Filip Bartoszewski
    • Funding: Data Lab & ZoneFox
  3. Behaviour-based malware detection with machine learning

Cyber Security Teaching

We offer both an MSc degree or a Diploma in Network Security that can be taken either full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 year) in our Edinburgh, UK, or Dubai campuses.

In addition, a selection of our cyber security courses/modules can be taken as part of your studies towards a MSc Data Science, MSc Software Engineering, MSc Information Technology (Software Systems), or MSc Computer Systems Management degree.

Find out more about studying at Heriot-Watt University and our university rankings.

Further information

For further information, please contact Dr. Mike Just at