Cyber security and privacy expert takes leading data science role at Essex

  • Date

    Tue 26 Oct 21

Haris Mouratidis

Cyber security and privacy expert Professor Haris Mouratidis is the new Director of the Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS) at the University of Essex.

Professor Mouratidis focuses his research on the intersection of security, privacy and software engineering and has pioneered work in developing methodologies, tools and platforms to support the analysis, design and monitoring of security, privacy, risk and trust for large-scale complex software systems.

His work is used in many ways, including protecting data from unauthorised access, improving organisational understanding of security-critical data processes, developing data security strategies and modelling and analysing security threats. It is also used to enable organisations to comply with privacy-related regulations, such as GDPR.

“I am very excited to join IADS and I look forward to working with colleagues across the University to ensure that IADS continues to lead the international research on data science and that our research and knowledge exchange activities tackle real world problems and challenges,” he said.

“IADS has a worldwide reputation as a centre of excellence in data science, while at the same time it is widely recognised for creating real impact to the local and global communities. I am impressed by the multi-disciplinary approach that IADS takes on tackling analytics and data science challenges. It is an approach that I completely share, and it fits with my research ethos.”

Professor Mouratidis has applied his theoretical work to practical applications in areas such as critical infrastructures, cloud computing, healthcare, telecommunications, banking and public administration.

He has published more than 185 papers and has also received funding for research, knowledge exchange and industrial projects from national and international funders including UKRI, EU, NII (Japan) and industry including BT, ELC, Powerchex and Ford. He is a “standards-maker” at the British Standards Institution for the Privacy-By-Design and Software and Systems Engineering national committees and Vice-Chair of the International Federation for Information Processing working group on secure engineering.

“My long-term research goal is to enable the development of secure and privacy-aware software systems for large, open and dynamic environments, which embed principles of data security and privacy in their designs,” he explained. “I strongly believe that security and privacy are not just technical challenges, but they are multi-dimensional socio-technical challenges that require expertise from different areas including security, privacy engineering, software engineering, data science, legal and ethical issues and social sciences to name a few.”

One of the major challenges around data, stressed Professor Mouratidis is finding ways to manage the sheer volume of data created, collected and stored for every type of human activity - from socialising to health care and transportation to education.

“At the same time, as data becomes more available to everyone and computing environments that store such data are becoming more interconnected, the potential for attacks and the possibilities for human errors that can lead to data breaches and unlawful manipulation are significantly increasing,” he added. “Coupled with the need to ensure the privacy of sensitive and personal data, we need to develop appropriate methods, techniques and frameworks, which can protect our data and the relevant data infrastructures against cybercriminal activities and human error.”