Jayden Nowitz

Master of Engineering graduate Jayden Nowitz is working to keep our government agencies safe from cyberattacks.

Jayden Nowitz stands in front of fish hook sculpture

After completing his undergraduate study at Victoria University of Wellington, Master of Engineering graduate, Jayden Nowitz says the decision to stay on for postgraduate study was an easy one.

“The staff at the university have been incredibly supportive and foster an environment that allows you to keep exploring the areas of interest to you, and the university has really strong connections to industry as well as performing well in research quality, by being first in the PBRF rankings. Finally—I love Wellington as a city, there’s great culture and diversity, and it’s so compact.”

Jayden says technology has always interested him—from tinkering with the latest gadgets, to understanding the role it plays in people’s lives.

“What got me interested in cybersecurity was wanting to understand why it is that people and organisations have remained so vulnerable to cyber threats despite efforts by security researchers and professionals to address them. The field is always changing, so it really keeps you on your toes to figure out how to respond and address these vulnerabilities as they are discovered. So it can be quite interesting to see how threats have evolved over time.”

For his Master’s research Jayden sought to understand whether people are more susceptible to these threats when using a mobile phone or tablet, compared to a desktop computer.

“A lot of research has considered why people are susceptible to phishing, but very few of those studies explored the role of the type of device people were using. Furthermore, most of this research has focussed on university students rather than professional staff.

“To explore this we conducted a phishing experiment across 141 professional administrative staff in the university to determine what device they used to handle the phishing campaigns that were sent out.”

After completing his master’s thesis earlier this year, Jayden was accepted into the GovTech Talent graduate programme, where he is working in cybersecurity in the public sector—an area he is passionate about.

“I have been working in cybersecurity in this programme, and I love being able to feel like my work around cybersecurity is in its own small way making a difference to not only keeping our government agencies safe, but also keeping New Zealanders trust in them.”