Professor William Buchanan

Director of CDCS

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Bill Buchanan is a Professor in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University, and a Fellow of the BCS and the IET. He currently leads the Centre for Distributed Computing, Networks, and Security, and works in the areas of security, Cloud Security, Web-based infrastructures, e-Crime, cryptography, triage, intrusion detection systems, digital forensics, mobile computing, agent-based systems, and security risk. Bill has one of the most extensive academic sites in the World, and is involved in many areas of novel research and teaching in computing. He has published over 27 academic books, and over 200 academic research papers, along with several awards for excellence in knowledge transfer, and for teaching, such as winning at the I my Tutor Awards (Student voted), Edinburgh Napier University, 2011 and 2014, and has supervised many award winning student projects.

He has been an external examiner at many universities, and is currently an external examiner at Royal Holloway (University of London). Also with this he has been involved in many PhD completions and many external PhD examinations (including recent ones in Newcastle, Liverpool, and Dublin). He is part of many editorial boards for conferences and reviews in a wide range of journals.

Bill regularly appears on TV and radio related to computer, and has given evidence to the Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament, along with being part of the BBC Scottish Independence Team of Experts (specialty: Cyber Security). This includes appearances on Newsnight Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, and Radio 5 Newsdrive, and was named as one of the Top 100 people for Technology in Scotland for the last two years. Along with this he gives many keynote/endnote talks at conferences, including at NISC 2014 on Heartbleed.

He has led many innovations in teaching related to Cyber Security, including with the DFET Cloud Training project and leads the Scottish EU Centre of Excellence for Law Enforcement Training within the 2Center Network, along with being part of the setup of SIPR (Scottish Institute for Police Research). He currently leads on a range of training projects with Police Scotland and a range of industry partners.

Presently he is working with a range of industrial/domain partners, including with the Scottish Police, the finance sector, and many large and small companies. He has a long track record in commercialisation activities, including being a co-founder of Zonefox and, which of which progressed from PhD work to a university spin-out, though the Scottish Enterprise funded Proof-of-Concept scheme. Over the past three years he has received direct funding of over £2million related to computer security, which has had a major impact on an international basis. Both spin-outs build on patented technology, including one which has patenting protection over three territories around the World.

His current work includes a €500,000 project which aims to build an advanced training infrastructure for Cyber Security and Digital Forensics. Previous projects have included collaboration of TSB Grants with Microsoft plc on a £2million project which aimed to improve the care of the elderly using Trusted Cloud-based services, and with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on a next generation Health Care platform. This also matches up with other funded projects with the FSA and the Scottish Police.

He has created many innovations in teaching related to computer security, including being sole author on (Cisco Simulators), and (one of the most extensive computer security site for academic material in the World) and in creating DFET (an innovative Cloud training infrastructure for security and digital forensics training). His lectures are online at, with over 500 on-line lectures, and has over 1,500 subscribers, with more than 1million minutes watched. He regularly appears on the BBC radio and TV talking about Cybercrime (see

Bill is also a member of the ICT in Education Excellence Group, which has been setup by the Scottish Government in 2012, and innovated the Christmas Cyber lecture for Schools in Scotland (attended by over 3,000 pupils in Dec 2013). He has done extensive work with Schools in promoting ICT, especially focused on computer security, and created the Bright Red Digital Zone, which now includes most of the subjects with the N5 (CfE) subjects in Scotland (, and which has extensive coverage of areas such as computer security.

More information see CV.

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Areas of Expertise link icon

  • Cyber-Security
    Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.
  • Internet Technologies & Society
    The technologies that help us to organise and share information on the internet are changing the way we live and work. This information society or knowledge economy people affects is in all kinds of new ways – as individuals, groups and organisations.
  • Networks
    Our future society, and its economy, will be built within a seamless environment of networked information resources. IIDI's Network Theme has been created to meet the demands of this society. Dr Ahmed Al-Dubai leads the Network Theme, which seeks to develop local human capital in the fields of...
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+44 (0)131 455 2759

Room C63
Merchiston Campus
10 Colinton Road
EH10 5DT

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    Recent Projects

    Dynamic Forensics Evaluation and Training (DFET)
    Dynamic Forensics Evaluation and Training (DFET) will create new training methods/techniques to support judicial authorities, law enforcement agencies and associated stakeholders in the fight against cybercrime through the development of a virtual (cloud-based) cybercrime training environment to...
    Scottish Frailty Framework with Mobile Device Capture and Big Data Integration. The proposed innovation will develop and extend the current work into Frailty, with the long term focus on encompassing not only clinical factors, but economic, environmental and social factors.
    Glimpse DHI
    The focus of this application is to use the new breed of motion sensors which can fully capture the movement of hands and fingers, and use this to create an early stage product to demonstrate how precise hand and finger movements can promote a healthy life
    See all projects

    PhD Project Involvement

    Elochukwu Ukwandu (PhD 2014-)
    Enhanced key-sharing algorithms.
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    Adrian Smales (PhD 2013-)
    Cloud-based e-health: utilising a frailty framework to identify early signs of illness. The "Frailty Framework" is the development of a next generation health assessment and predictive analysis system. It will integrate clinical assessment instruments from InterRAI with a cloud-based...
    Solomon Uwagbole (PhD 2011-)
    Digital immunisation through network packets payload analysis and patterns-matching within a security boundary. The immune approach in anomaly detection enables detecting known and unknown intrusive activities in packets payload. Cloud computing has extended security boundaries from the traditional security...
    Owen Lo (PhD 2010-)
    Framework for evaluation of e-health platform and services. Methodologies for evaluation of e-Health platforms are still lacking. This research proposes an e-Health evaluation framework that aims to provide a concise methodology for the evaluation of e-Health...
    Rania Molla (PhD 2009-)
    Enhanced mobile authentication of users within an e-commerce infrastructure.
    Philip Penrose (PhD 2013-)
    Digital fragment classification and identification. Triage of large capacity digital devices
    Grzegorz Spyra (PhD 2013-)
    Secure information sharing in the cloud.
    Nseabasi Igoniderigha (PhD 2010-)
    Data navigation and visualisation: navigating coordinated multiple views of data.
    Tom Flint (PhD 2009-)
    The experience of interactive art is appropriation. This investigation examines various methods for evaluating interactivity and engagement with technology. By using a static model, namely the interactive gallery at The Public in West Bromwich it is...
    See all PhD projects

    Recent Publications

    Buchanan, W. (2015, Jan 2015). The Increasing Challenge for Digital Forensics. The Texas Investigator, 10-12.

    Penrose, P., Buchanan, W., Macfarlane, R. (2015). Fast contraband detection in large capacity disk drives. Digital Investigator, , (March 2015), S22–S29.

    Buchanan, W. (2014, ). Complete Anatomy of Heartbleed, TrueCrypt and Large-scale Vulnerabilities. Paper presented at 7th International Conference on Security of Information and Networks (SIN 2014), Glasgow.

    Buchanan, W. (2014, ). Creating engaging and stimulating Web based material. Paper presented at LTT 2014, Holyrood, Edinburgh.

    See all publications

    Supervised dissertations

    Arbelet, A. (2014). Garmin Satnav Forensic Methods and Artefacts: An Exploratory Study (MSc ASDF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Macfarlane, R., Buchanan, W.).

    Katsamakis, N. (2014). A Comparison of Dynamic Malware Analysis Systems and Security Information and Event Management Systems for Malware Analysis (MSc ASDF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Macfarlane, R., Buchanan, W.).

    McCurdy, A. (2013). Dropbox Forensics (MSc ASDF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Macfarlane, R., Buchanan, W.).

    Berthelot, C. (2012). Evaluation of a Virtual Firewall in a Cloud Environment (MSc ASDF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Buchanan, W., Russell, G.).

    See all supervised dissertations