MSS graduate interviewed on RNZ

Master of Strategic Studies graduate, Matthew Nicoll, was recently featured on Jessie Mulligan’s ‘Tell Me About Your Thesis’ segment on RNZ.

On 27 July 2017, Matthew Nicoll, a former student in the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, discussed his thesis 'Cyber Myths and Cyber Realities: An Examination of Strategic Realities in Cyberspace' with Jesse Mulligan.

Listen to the interview on RNZ.

Matthew’s dissertation examined the military-strategic dimension of cyberspace, with a focus on large-scale cyber attacks undertaken by state and state-affiliated actors.

The dissertation sought to contribute to a growing body of scholarship in ‘cyber studies’ – commonly regarded as an emerging sub-discipline in international relations.  

In the spirit of the interdisciplinary ethos that underpins cyber studies, Matthew drew upon insights from a number of other disciplines – most principally computer science, psychology and management studies – in concert with traditional strategic theory.  

By theorising the ‘strategic realities’ of cyberspace from the empirical record of cyber attacks, Matthew’s research uncovered several prominent ‘myths’ about cyber capabilities. Matthew found the existence of these myths to be widespread: from government officials to private cyber consultants, the research shed light on the manner in which cyber attacks are commonly misunderstood.

Matthew completed his Master of Strategic Studies degree at Victoria University earlier this year, receiving the Prime Minister’s Award for best all-round academic graduate. In 2016, he received a fully-funded Master of Arts scholarship through the 'Secret World': Security Intelligence and State Surveillance in New Zealand, 1907-2007 Project, funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund.

He now resides at the Stout Research Centre under the supervision of Prof Richard Hill and AProf Anna Green. His MA thesis examines intelligence processing in New Zealand – an area that has received little academic attention to date.

Matthew continues to tutor for the PSIR programme within the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations.