CENSIS – Scotland’s innovation centre for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has partnered with an international advisory firm to support greater diversity in cybersecurity resilience.

CENSIS and Mazars have developed a new initiative for UK students to explore IoT security.

In a pilot this summer, they will welcome a group of students who are part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CyberFirst programme to take part in an ethical hacking exercise.

The participants will use IoT technology designed by the innovation centre’s engineers to better understand the vulnerability of systems to potential cyberattacks.

The programme will bring together students from a diverse range of backgrounds and undergraduate disciplines and will simulate practical real-life IoT issues.

The students will also be asked to identify vulnerabilities in the system and areas that could be improved to prevent exposure to cyberthreats.

It comes as the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, particularly to meet new requirements for connected devices.

Cade Wells, acting business development director at CENSIS, said: “Boosting diversity in cyber security is incredibly important as different paths into the sector inevitably bring a greater range of fresh ideas.

“Innovation is all about doing things differently and we need a range of perspectives to feed into that. Our focus on cyber security and resilience in IoT is designed to support, rather than stifle, future technology developments, and cyber security will only become more important as legislation changes.

“The kit we’ll be using for the new initiative was designed for teaching purposes and we hope the programme will be both fun and informative for the students.

“It will be interesting to see how the skills already gained through the internships at Mazars influence the results of the hacking exercise. We hope that this workshop will be the first of many to support the CyberFirst initiative and wider diversity agenda across the sector, reducing the barriers to entry for under-represented groups.”

Sandeep Sharma, director, cybersecurity, at Mazars, said: “Cybersecurity testing, or ethical hacking, is often software-based, so it’s great to be able to give the students access to physical devices that will help them to develop important skills.

“IoT cyber security is sometimes considered an after-thought and we have not encountered any other organisations delivering the type of learning experience that CENSIS can offer.

“As the students prepare to enter the sector after graduation, it’s important for us to give them access to a range of tools and skills to help them succeed in their chosen careers.”