Information Assurance Research Lab, University of South Australia
Dr Choo is new to the academic sector (only since March 2011) and following the somewhat unexpected departure of his senior colleague early in his time at the University of South Australia, he found himself catapulted into a leadership role, running the Information Assurance Research Group comprising two other teaching focussed colleagues and less than six PhD students. This happened at the same time as he was consolidating my research productivity and impact in his new academic context, and so the leadership role was demanding. The limited resources (i.e. staffing and budget) require careful and flexible management to deliver the highest quality research outputs. He recognises the need to foster a stronger culture of research excellence. Cultural change cannot be achieved overnight; change begun under his leadership and continues to occur.
Key to his success in increasing his group's research productivity is his focus on developing individuals and overall group capability. He makes a small team of expert but disparate researchers more focused on a common research agenda, mentoring and increasing the productivity of group members, and attracting a large PhD and coursework student cohort. He is also supervising a research fellow, funded by his competitive grant. His research group is the leading national digital forensic research group.
He understands the importance of ensuring his research is relevant to policy and practice, and is aligned with major and ongoing national and federal policy directions and strategies. He has had the opportunity to apply his research knowledge, having been invited to provide expert opinion on policy developments, including the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Cyber White Paper as a member of the Australian Computer Society Cyber Task Force of experts (2011), and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Draft Conceptual Framework for Cybercrime (2012 and 2013). In March 2014, he appeared as an invited witness in a private briefing on "Bitcoin and alternative remittance systems" to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
He also works hard to raise the profile of his research group, the findings and the University. Specifically, in the last five years, he has been an invited speaker for a number of events in Australia and overseas, such as the 2011 UNODC-ITU Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Fighting Cybercrime, the Korean (Government) Institute of Criminology (2013), the UNAFEI and UAE Government conference in 2014, and the World Internet Conference (Wuzhen Summit) in 2014, jointly organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China and the People's Government of Zhejiang Province. He has also been a Keynote/Plenary Speaker at conferences such as SERENE-RISC Spring 2016 Workshop, IEEE International Conference on Data Science and Data Intensive Systems (DSDIS2015) and those organised by Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, A*Star, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University (2015) , Cloud Security Alliance New Zealand (2015), CSO Australia and Trend Micro (2015) , Anti-Phishing Working Group (2014), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (2014), Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (Malaysia; 2014), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore; 2011), and National Chiayi University (Taiwan; 2010); and an Invited Lecturer at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, and Singapore Polytechnic.
More recently in 2015, he was an Invited Expert at UNAFEI Criminal Justice (Focus on Investigation, Prosecution, Adjudication, and International Cooperation) Training, at INTERPOL Cyber Research Agenda Workshop, and at Taiwan Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau’s International Symposium on Regional Security and Transnational Crimes . He was a Distinguished Speaker at the 1st International Summer School on Computational Forensics (SuCoFo 2016) at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He was also invited to participate in the 2012 (Australian Government) Coalition Parliamentarians Online Safety Working Group’s roundtable (established to consult with key technology, education and cyber-safety leaders, as well as other interested parties, to further develop its online safety policy in the areas of education, regulation and enforcement).
His research has been widely cited, including in key government reports such as the Australian Government House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications Report on the Inquiry into Cyber Crime, Australian Government House of Representatives Joint Select Committee’s Report on Cyber-Safety, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Government House of Representatives Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety’s Report on the Inquiry into Cybersafety for Senior Australians, Victorian Law Reform Commission Report, Working paper for the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Handbook on Identity-related Crime”, US CRS Report for Congress (Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress) entitled “Organized Crime: An Evolving Challenge for U.S. Law Enforcement”, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) “Understanding Cybercrime: A Guide For Developing Countries” report, UNODC “Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit” report , and UK Home Office report entitled "Cyber crime: A review of the evidence".
His key actions to overcome resistance are as follows:
- Strengthening existing partnerships/collaboration and identifying new partnerships and collaborators in academia, industry, and government agencies, as well as networking widely to gain and influence the opinions of colleagues and collaborators and to shape the research strategies.
- Continuing to develop a culture of excellence within the group, attracting external funding, building and developing the early career research cohort, high quality supervision and outputs.
For example, he takes a hands-on approach in mentoring both undergraduate and postgraduate students to prepare them for life in the real-world. More specifically, he assists them in selecting novel topics of research (e.g. cloud forensics, big data and information security risks in the real estate sector), help them understand how to rigorously evaluate their research methodologies and data, work with them in preparing manuscripts for publication, and practice presentation of published results. He also involves senior graduate students in mentoring undergraduate student project supervision, and invited presentations as co-presenters. Not many undergraduate with/without Honours and postgraduate coursework with minor thesis students including G08 graduates will graduate with an academic publication. Together with these students, they have published more than 20 refereed book chapters (Elsevier), seven journal articles and nine refereed conference papers with a number of these papers principally authored by undergraduate students (and these students have no prior research or publication record).
Also in his teaching role, it is his continuing goal to mentor, inform, and teach the next generation of cyber warriors and to provide a research rich and intellectual simulating learning environment. For example in 2013, he redesigned the course assessment for a postgraduate course and a third-year undergraduate course and introduced students to the (combined undergraduate and postgraduate) group-based Cyber Security Exercise (also known as Cyber Wargame). Feedback from the students was positive (teacher evaluation score of 92 from students enrolled in COMP 5067, SP2/2013) although students were also of the view that the exercise is very demanding. Findings were published as a refereed conference paper (Ranked A by ERA 2010 / CORE 2014).