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More in this section Open Day 2016

Open Day 2016


 There was a real buzz in the Windsor building on Wednesday 22 June as the Information Security Group (ISG) opened its doors to the world for the group’s first ever ISG Open Day. Designed for anyone with an interest in cyber security to come along and learn more about the ISG and what we do.  Around 300 delegates jointed us for what proved to be a great day.

The atmosphere was informal and friendly, aiming to showcase the achievements, and the quarter of a century widely recognised contribution of the ISG in the field of Information Security; as well as current opportunities for cyber security training and research. The opening addresses were given by the Principal, Paul Layzell, and the Head of Department, Professor Keith Mayes.

The day was followed by a jam packed programme of keynote lectures, sound-bite talks, presentations from current PhD students and a panel discussion. There were several rooms to browse and delegates could wander their way through the day selecting elements from the programme and tailoring their schedule to suit their particular interests. Our first keynote speaker was Professor Mike Edmunds from Cardiff University, who delivered a highly inspiring talk “Unlocking Aphrodite's Secrets: The Antikythera Mechanism and its legacy”, on how the mechanism was reverse engineered by an interdisciplinary team of experts. This paved the way nicely for our second invited speaker, Dr Joel Greenberg, an Educational Technology Specialist. His talk was on “Bletchley Park and The Industrialisation of Signals Intelligence”, highlighting the inspiring efforts by the Bletchley park team to decipher the encryption mechanisms deployed by axis powers during the Second World War. Our final keynote was Ken Munro from PenTest Partners who provided a highly entertaining talk “The IoT. Your very own Wi-Fi controlled and App enabled Armageddon”. The presentation included practical demonstrations of how information security is still overlooked in a number of Internet-of-Things devices that will become increasing prevalent in our daily lives.

For historical reasons, the ISG is perhaps best known for its expertise in cryptography, however today its spectrum of information/cyber security research and education is far more diverse; and we wished to show this in the open-day.  For example, there were rooms dedicated to the ISG Smart Card Centre (SCC), the Systems Security Lab (S2Lab), Creative Securities research and a PhD poster room, all showcasing diverse achievements and expertise through a number of sound bite talks, demos, posters and lively discussions. Furthermore, there was a room dedicated to Geopolitics and Criminology, featuring equally interesting activities related to information security.  An immensely popular feature was the vintage computer room displaying computers and replicas from as early as the 19th Century; many thanks to Professor Adrian Johnstone from the Computer Science department.  The room was also featuring home computers from the Computing Conservation Society (CCS) and the National Museum of Computing (NMOC).


The rainy weather managed to hold off as delegates dined on street food (food stalls sponsored by the generosity of the S2Lab) in the Quad at lunchtime. Thanks to our colleagues from the ISG, Computer Science, and Mathematics, we also provided a number of practical activities for prospective students.

Our PhD students played an instrumental role in the success of the day by contributing more than 65 PhD posters and participating in all the activities. Another highlight from the day included a voting competition where delegates were asked to judge the best PhD poster. The posters outlined the various PhD projects currently being researched by ISG students; first place was awarded to Pip Thornton, for her project ‘Daffodils (2016) - A Critique of Linguistic Capitalism’.



The day ended with a lively panel, including Professor Kenny Paterson, Ken Munro, Olivia Bosch and Craig Heath. The discussion was lead by Robert Carolina, Executive Director, Institute for Cyber Security Innovation. .



Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, quoted “I am delighted that the first ISG Open Day was an outstanding success.  At a time when the security of our information and communication systems are of paramount importance, the event has played an important role in raising profile and sharing best practice between researchers and practitioners.”

Prof Keith Mayes, the Director of the ISG, quoted that “When I first considered the possibility of an ISG Open-Day, I was thinking of an event that would show the diversity, success and scale of ISG research and education, its links with other disciplines and how our experience/reputation leads to very high student employment. I wanted the event to be open and free, so we could reach out to new friends and excite them about the subject area. I was therefore absolutely delighted with our first Open-Day; and there cannot be too many programmes that start with archaeology and end up with a cyber-attack on a kettle!

The organising chair, Prof Konstantinos Markantonakis, of the ISG Open Day quoted that “We hope that the first ISG Open Day provided an excellent opportunity to colleagues from other departments, long standing supporters of the ISG and, equally important, new friends to appreciate the broad range of information security expertise uniquely blending together for the provision of high quality teaching, research, and advisory services solving real world information security challenges.”

The ISG greatly appreciates the contributions of the event sponsors, GSK, KPMG, QinetiQ, RHUL and THALES, without which the event would not have been possible. A fantastic day and turnout and, by the afternoon, even the sunshine had decided to turn up and greet us. Well done to all who helped make this day the great success that it was.

Prof Konstantinos Markantonakis

Lisa Cavey

Sheila Cobourne 

The full programme can be dowloaded here.


Keynote Speaker 1: Professor Mike Edmunds (Cardiff University)

(please click here for biog and abstract of talk)

Title:  Unlocking Aphrodite's Secrets: The Antikythera Mechanism and its legacy

Keynote Speaker 2: Dr Joel Greenberg

(please click here for biog and abstract of talk)

Title: Bletchley Park and The Industrialisation of Signals Intelligence

Keynote Speaker 3: Ken Munro: (PenTest Partners)

(please click here for biog and abstract of talk)

Title: The IoT. Your very own Wi-Fi controlled and App enabled Armageddon 


We are very grateful to our sponsors - Thales, GSK, KPMG, Qinetic and Royal Holloway Enterprise -  who helped to make this day possible.  


 Qinetic_2995Thales_Logo_JPEGgsk logo



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