A new course at Umeå University is particularly valued by students. Professor Alexandre Bartel at Department of Computing Science is now receiving the Student Union of Science and Technology’s Award for Educational Efforts. “It is a recognition that I have reached my goal of getting the attention and interest of the students. Very satisfying." Professor Bartel says.
"The course provides an overview and understanding of computer security risks and what can be done to minimise damage", says Alexandre Bartel, Professor in Software Engineering and Computer Security at The Department of Computing Science, Umeå University.
Recently, several major cyber and IT attacks have been observed in Sweden and internationally. The interest in the new course, Computer Security, has thus been considerable. The course covers most aspects of security, including cryptography, network, web and system security. "It involves all elements, from preventing unauthorised web access to social engineering", Bartel explains.
As a professor of software engineering and computer security, his work includes developing software tools that can automatically detect weaknesses and thus minimise risks. “Vulnerabilities and malicious code in existing systems or in third-party software are a serious threat to security and cost billions each year. We aim to make it more difficult for attackers to exploit a system", Professor Bartel says.
Analyse malicious software
Through the computer security course, students will understand how malware, such as viruses, ransomware, worms and trojans work but also perform hands-on exercises to analyse a real malware sample. Other aspects of computer security such as social engineering – how to find out if an attacker is trying to convince or manipulate someone to do something for malicious purposes, are also studied in the course.
"Anyone interested in computers or software development will benefit from the course and understand the security risks and what can be done to make systems as secure as possible," Bartel says.
Alexandre Bartel constantly strives to develop the course and make it more comprehensible and exciting, with real-life examples. And this has been much appreciated by the students. Therefore, this year he received the Umeå Student Union of Science and Technology’s Award for Educational Efforts, an award that is given to only a couple of teachers faculty wide each year. "I am of course very happy to receive this award!" says Alexandre Bartel.
Plans for a new advanced course
The Department of Computing Science is now also considering a more advanced course that will bring students closer to state-of-the-art technology in the security analysis of complex software systems. “This will give a better understanding of the research and advances made in the field”, says Professor Bartel.
About the Professor
Alexandre Bartel´s research interests include developing tools and techniques for testing and evaluating software systems throughout their life cycle. Professor Bartel is also member of the WASP Research Management Group – Software. WASP, the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program, with its SEK 6.2 billion, is Sweden's single largest research investment in basic research, education and recruitment in autonomous systems and software development at Chalmers, KTH, Umeå, Lund and Linköping universities.