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Scotiabank announces it will provide $2 million for cyber security and financial data initiative at UBC


March 13, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Scotiabank’s $2 million funding injection seeks to support the ability of the Scotiabank Cybersecurity and Risk Analytics Initiative at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to accelerate cyber security and financial risk research in Canada.

“Data theft costs organizations billions of dollars a year worldwide, and cause psychological and social harm for individual customers,” Michael Zerbs, chief technology officer for Scotiabank, notes in a company statement Monday.

The initiative at UBC “will advance the industry’s collective understanding of how to further protect digital assets,” Zerbs comments.

Provided over the next five years, the donation will help “support research and educational initiatives, including internships, speaker series, engagement activities like ‘hackathons,’ and other collaborative events to advance our understanding of the impacts of cyber attacks and refine risk management tools,” the statement notes.

Related: Aviva Canada’s 24-hour Broker Hackathon results in small business online quoting and binding solution

The funding will support ongoing work led by UBC researchers Konstantin Beznosov and Hasan Cavusoglu, who specialize in cyber attack research and the human, social and economic issues concerning privacy and security; and statistics professors John Braun, Natalia Nolde and Harry Joe, who are making significant contributions to financial risk modelling and probability theory.

In addition, the funding will support the Creative Destruction Lab West at the UBC Sauder School of Business, which helps entrepreneurs transition from science-based innovations to high-growth companies.

With a view to helping build talent in the digital economy, Zerbs predicts the funding support “will contribute to research and engage students to advance financial modelling to help manage risks and protect customers.”

“There is an urgent need to advance our understanding of information security and financial risk management in an ever more connected, complex world,” Professor Santa Ono, UBC president and vice chancellor, says in the statement.

UBC was scheduled to host a public panel Monday to explore trends and career opportunities in cyber security.

Related: Canada fourth largest cyber security hub in world, Ontario has potential to assume leading role