'We are one of the first movers in this area'

The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity opened Monday with representatives hoping that it will attract new business and make New Brunswick a world leader in the field.

University of New Brunswick launches Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity

Protecting citizens, businesses and governments in cyberspace is becoming a constantly evolving challenge, said Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada research chair in cybersecurity at UNB. (CBC New Brunswick)

The Canadian Institute of Cybersecurity opened in Fredericton on Monday, with representatives expressing high hopes for attracting new business to the province and making New Brunswick a world leader in the field.

The institute, which is housed at existing facilities at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, will conduct research, training and industry collaboration, said Dr. Ali Ghorbani, director of the institute and Canada research chair in cybersecurity at UNB.

Protecting citizens, businesses and governments in cyberspace is becoming a constantly evolving challenge, and UNB will be at the forefront of this battle, he said.

"Anything we see now around the world indicates that cybersecurity is a problem, a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us to make sure that we are one of the first movers in this area," he said.

Province has hopes for cybersecurity

The institute is part of the provincial government's continuing bid to tap into the emerging, knowledge-based economy.

Premier Brian Gallant said focusing and investing in research and education in cyber security will help make New Brunswick an epicentre for the field. (CBC New Brunswick)

It is also prong of CyberNB — the comprehensive cybersecurity and cyber innovation strategy the province announced in May 2016.

The project has received more than $4.5 million in funding, including $2.27 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's innovative communities fund and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, $2 million from the province, and $330,000 from UNB.

Premier Brian Gallant said focusing and investing in research and education in cyber security will help make New Brunswick an epicentre for the field and attract new businesses to the province.

"It presents challenges for businesses across the globe, which is also a great opportunity for us to see some of the jobs and economic growth that will come with this industry moving forward," he said.

Stephen Lund, CEO of Opportunities NB, said the project opens up new opportunities for young people in the province. (CBC New Brunswick)

Stephen Lund, CEO of Opportunities NB, said the project also opens up new opportunities for young people in the province.

"We believe that we have to find niches where New Brunswick can be a leader," he said.

Partnership with global technology firm IBM

The university said the worldwide cyber security market is expected to grow from an estimated $75 billion US in 2015 to $170 billion US by 2020. The global cost of cyber attacks is expected to grow to $2.1 trillion US by 2020.

But there is a huge shortage in skilled people to deal with the problem, said Sandy Bird, CTO of IBM Security and co-founder of Fredericton-based Q1 Labs, which is part of IBM.

The global technology firm is partnering with UNB for the project.

Bird said the institute can make a huge impact by training the next set of leaders in the industry, and by influencing laws around cybersecurity.

"For years, we thought about this as very much a computer science-type problem but it's not," he said.

"We need to set policy at the government level and having the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity here and being able to recommend the policy at the government level is important."

Sandy Bird said the Institute has the chance to make a huge impact on the New Brunswick economy and policy development. (CBC New Brunswick)

UNB's faculty of computer science has the largest network security research group in the country, according to the university.

Ghorbani said much of the money the institute received will now be used to train and educate people and to pay for research and new technologies.

"I hope to be a place, or one of the places, in North America that people would come to get education in cyber security as well as a place that people come to seek solutions for their cyber security problems."