The war against online criminals took a major step this week with the opening of a new £30m ($48m) Cybersecurity Research Centre.

The opening of the new complex, based at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is the latest strategy by the UK government to crack down on the threat of online security threats and cyber criminal activity.

The complex, known as the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), will focus their resources on embedded security technology for the latest generation of IT equipment as well as real-time automated analysis of CCTV footage for criminal activity. Initially, this research will be focused largely around public sector systems although the scheme does have support from private sector investors.

Microsoft, Vodafone, Nortel, the University of Cambridge, Thales UK and BAE Systems are amongst the multinational companies that are supporting the centre.

Queen’s University vice-chancellor Peter Gregson claimed that the centre would provide invaluable security research and information to safeguard the future of British e-commerce.

“Cyber-security is a global issue that affects us all,” said Mr Gregson. “97% of business in the UK now relies on the internet and other IT systems. By coupling the pioneering research undertaken at CSIT with economic development, Queen’s will secure the UK’s position in cyberspace.”

A spokesperson for the university added that the centre could become “the United Kingdom’s lead centre for cybersecurity research.”

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