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Diverse team leads $12.23 million cyber security project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Meena Mungro is from Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean. She represents one of 17 nationalities in the Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW team at the University of Waikato.

Meena, a Research Programmer, is working alongside CROW researchers and practitioners on the STRATUS project. STRATUS stands for Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Trust and User-centric Services in the Cloud.

"We’re a small team, but we’re like a big family," Meena says. The Waikato-led six-year cyber security project has received $12.23 million in funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The aim of STRATUS is to empower everyday computer users by giving them control of their data and offer cloud providers cutting-edge tools and services to sell.

"I engage a lot with industry, implementing new software and showing it to industry partners," says Meena. As part of the project, Meena is researching the security of data in the cloud and the history of files since their creation, called provenance. She says when users put their data into the cloud they are trusting the provider to keep their data secure, but without provenance, there is no way the user can know what really happens to their data in the cloud. The CROW team is working closely with cloud provider LayerX to create software that will track changes made to data in the cloud.

Meena discovered CROW while studying for her Master of Science through WAND, a research group at the University of Waikato’s Department of Computer Science. "I’ve been learning on the job," she says. She enjoys the thrill of problem solving as a developer and is currently studying papers in cyber security and cyber law. "I’m not just studying offensive and defensive security, but also law and policy. So I understand all aspects of cyber security from a variety of viewpoints."

Alongside her CROW team, Meena is helping to organise the annual New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge. The cyber security competition, launched by CROW in 2014, aims to produce data for research projects and entice bright minds to study computer science and cyber security at the University of Waikato. Meena recommends all students interested in cyber security study computer science at Waikato. "Technology advances quickly so there is always something new to learn," she says. "Computer science at the University of Waikato is constantly evolving to reflect recent changes in technology."

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