Researcher biography

Professor Ryan Ko is Chair and Director of UQ Cyber Security at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is also Deputy Head of School (External Engagement) at the School of ITEE.

His research in cyber security focuses on returning control of data to users. His research reduces users' reliance on trusting third-parties and focusses on (1) provenance logging and reconstruction, traceability and (2) privacy-preserving data processing. His research is recognised internationally, receiving conference Best Paper Awards (2011, 2015, 2017), and resulted in several technology transfers (e.g. HP), open source contributions (e.g. Kali Linux THC) and spin-offs (e.g. First Watch). Recently, he is researching information integrity and cyber autonomy in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, manufacturing, regulatory and agriculture sectors.

He serves as Technical Reference Group member of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)'s Integrity Systems Company, Technology Advisory Board member of the NZX-listed (NZE:LIC) Livestock Improvement Cooperation (LIC), Research Lead and co-founder of First Watch, advisor to Nyriad, and expert advisor to INTERPOL, NZDF, NZ Minister for Communications' Cyber Security Skills Taskforce, and one of four nationally-appointed Technical Adviser for the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, Ministry of Justice.

Over his career, Ko has been awarded A$13million in competitive grants as lead Chief Investigator. Prior to UQ, he was the highest funded computer scientist in New Zealand, as Principal Investigator and Science Leader of the largest MBIE-awarded cloud security research funding for STRATUS (NZ$12.2 million; 2014-2018). STRATUS' research was awarded 'Gold' by MBIE (i.e. top performing project, 2017), adopted by INTERPOL and featured in NZ's Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's NZ Cyber Security Strategy 2016 annual report.

Ko has a track record developing international and national cyber security curricula, including the co-creation of the gold-standard (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) curriculum (2014-2015), and authoring the initial draft of the NZQA's Level 6 Cybersecurity Diploma qualification as part of the NZ Cyber Security Skills Taskforce on behalf of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Prof Ko has a strong record in establishing university-wide, multi-disciplinary academic research and education programmes, including UQ's interdisciplinary cyber security research and postgraduate programme, NZ's first cyber security graduate research programme and lab (CROW) in 2012, NZ's first Master of Cyber Security (encompassing technical and law courses), the NZ Cyber Security Challenge since 2014, and the New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science – Te Puna Haumaru, the Evidence Based Policing Centre (at Wellington with NZ Police and ESR), and Master of Security and Crime Science in 2017.

Within the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 technical committee, Prof Ko is Head of Delegation for the Singapore national body, served as Editor, ISO/IEC 21878 "Information technology -- Security techniques -- Security guidelines for design and implementation of virtualized servers", and hosted the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 meetings at Hamilton, New Zealand, in 2017. Ko serves as an ARC Assessor, and the MBIE College of Assessors (since 2015), and have externally examined 9 PhD and 3 Masters theses. He has published in top venues including WWW, DCC, ESORICS, IEEE TrustCom, IEEE ICWS, IEEE TDSC, IEEE TSC and more than 100 publications including books, refereed conference papers, journal papers, book chapters, encyclopaedia entries, technical reports and international patents (PCT). He served in technical programme committees for more than 30 IEEE conferences/workshops, associate editor for 6 journals, and series editor for Elsevier's security books.

He contributed to the establishment of the Government of Tonga CERT and CERT NZ, and has spoken regularly on cyber and cloud security research across the globe, including the Republic of Korea National Assembly (2018), INTERPOL (2017), TEDx Ruakura (2017), and the NZ Members of Parliament (2016).

He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Engineering)(Hons.) (2005), and PhD (2011) from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is a life member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and member of the IEEE and the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

For his contributions to the field, he was elected Fellow of Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) (2016), the Singapore Government (Enterprise Singapore)'s Young Professional Award (2018), and awarded the inaugural CSA Ron Knode Service Award 2012. For his research and teaching excellence, he was awarded the University of Waikato's Early Career Excellence Award (2014), Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards (2014, 2015, 2018), and the Nola Campbell eLearning Excellence Award (2014). He is also recipient of the 2015 (ISC)2 Information Security Leadership Award.

Areas of research