Ryan Ko

Most of us don’t think twice about uploading family photos to Facebook and Instagram, or using Dropbox as a back-up personal finance filing system. But Associate Professor Ryan Ko knows just how easy it is to lose control over our data once we press that upload or share button.

A cyber-crime fighter leading the research game in New Zealand - although he might describe himself more modestly as a computer scientist - Ryan has been awarded three international patents in cyber security. So, you could say he knows his stuff when it comes to digital security.

Director of the NZ Institute for Security and Crime Science, and Head of the Cyber Security Lab at the University of Waikato, he is also a technical adviser to INTERPOL, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry for Communications.

Establishing NZ's first and leading cyber security research lab – Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato (CROW), Ryan is also the principal investigator of the MBIE-funded STRATUS, a six-year project worth NZD12.23million – NZ's largest computer science and cyber security research grant. Take a breath and continue reading.

Born and raised in Singapore with a Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University, he is a member of the Institute of Electronic Engineers, life member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Royal Society of New Zealand. Associate Editor for six academic journals, and active as co-chair and technology board member of several industry companies, it’s hard to imagine where he finds the time for it all.

Ryan started the New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge with his students in 2014. The competition has since grown to 400+ participants and is now a top talent identification venue for private and public organisations. Prior to joining the University of Waikato, he was a lead computer scientist with Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs' Cloud and Security Lab.

If you’re curious about what goes on amid the binary numbers behind your shiny mac or PC as you upload your latest holiday snaps, you won’t want to miss Ryan’s talk.

You can find out more about Ryan here: www.waikato.ac.nz/staff-profiles/people/ryan