Learning to tackle cyber crime

15 March 2024
​ Nyalok, UQ Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) graduate, Master of Cyber Security (Cyber Criminology) student with Shakira, UQ Bachelor of Criminal Justice graduate, Master of Cyber Security (Cyber Criminology) student. ​
Nyalok, UQ Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) graduate, Master of Cyber Security (Cyber Criminology) student with Shakira, UQ Bachelor of Criminal Justice graduate, Master of Cyber Security (Cyber Criminology) student.

Taking your learning out of the classroom and into a professional setting is a rewarding experience, and one that 2 University of Queensland students recently thrived at.

Having just completed their summer internships in cyber security at Rheinmetall Defence, Cyber Criminology students Nyalok and Shakira reflect on their time working with industry.

Being at the start of her Masters program, Shakira went into the internship with no expectations and came out saying the experience exceeded them regardless.

“My favourite thing about the internship was that the environment was very welcoming,” Shakira said.

“We were encouraged to apply our learning and were integrated into the team really well.”

Because of this opportunity, Shakira’s eyes were opened to a cyber area she didn’t even know existed.

“Prior to this experience I knew I wanted to get into child exploitation prevention, however thought it would be on the policing side of things.

“Now I am looking more on the intelligence side of the fence, and I think my internship shaped this change in thought,” she said.

“I look forward to applying what I learnt in my undergraduate degree and a professional cyber security environment to my studies for the next 1.5 years.”

Having almost completed her Masters program, Nyalok’s experience was a little different to Shakira’s and more about applying theory into practice, yet she too had nothing but good things to say.

“Shakira and I were each tasked with completing a major project for the duration of the internship.

“My project focused on software risk assessments and Shakira’s on cyber threat intelligence,” Nyalok said.

“It was a very rewarding experience and I am looking forward to further developing skills in this space and joining a field where interdisciplinary approaches are key.”   

Convenor of Cyber Criminology at UQ Dr Jonah Rimer said seeing his students thrive in professional settings was one of the best parts of his job.

“It is wonderful to see our students succeed in roles that are both demanding and rewarding.

“In UQ Cyber Criminology we not only teach core topical, conceptual, and theoretical foundations, but also foster outside-the-box skills and knowledge for success in careers focused on cyber security and cybercrime response,” he said.

Dr Rimer believes this helps students move beyond traditional IT-focused and technology-focused thinking.

“Shakira and Nyalok should be commended for their ability to bring this non-traditional approach so effectively to their internships on a cyber security team.”

Senior Manager of the Cyber Security Operations Centre at Rheinmetall Defence Mandy Turner led the internship program and agreed that the interns were brilliant.

“This was the first year we had cyber security interns at the company and the fact that the students study or have studied criminology made them an excellent choice to work in an operational cyber security team,” she said.

“In my experience, students who have studied criminology make far better cyber security analysts than students that study only cyber security disciplines.

“This is because they are already equipped with the understanding of ethical behaviour, admiralty scale, need-to-know principle, crime, criminal motivations, cyber war, nation state threats, and how geo-political and socio-economic factors influence crime and the choice of potential victims.”

During their internships, Nyalok and Shakira had the opportunity to attend a Scams Awareness event, job shadowed communications security and IT service desk roles, created cyber security culture awareness products, researched, analysed and prepared intelligence reports, were involved in day-to-day work of the team, and completed a large project each to support the goals of the cyber security team.

The cyber security internship is open to any university undergraduate and postgraduate student in Australia studying criminology, policing, intelligence, or cyber security and similar disciplines. More information can be found here.

Aligned with jobs and duties like this, whether you’re looking to upskill or re-stream into the cyber industry, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to make your mark in analysis, intelligence, law enforcement, security, policy, or research roles by choosing UQ's Master of Cyber Security with a specialisation in Cyber Criminology.

Hear more from students and industry experts about why studying cyber criminology at UQ is a great choice.