UK cybersecurity centre for Internet of Things to open

Pictured: The new centre aims to protect smart devices among others from future security threats. Source: pixabay.

By Sharon Gomez

The UK is set to gain a $13.8 million National Centre of Excellence for the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of the UK Government’s wider initiative aimed at designing out cyber threats in IT hardware. The initiative, ’Designing out’ cyber threats to businesses and personal data”, supports research into the design and development of hardware so they will be more secure and resilient from the outset. This aims to “design out” many forms of cyber threat by “designing in” security and protection technology or solutions into hardware and chip designs.

The Internet of Things encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define smart, internet-connected devices such as home hubs, smartphones, and wearable technologies that gather and analyse data to help someone with a task or learn from a process. IoT offers us the opportunity to be more efficient in how we do things. It saves time, money and often emissions in the process.

The newly launched PETRAS 2 (Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability, and Security) National Centre of Excellence is aimed at providing a significant boost to research about the collection and communication of data by IoT devices. The centre’s research focus will be on opportunities and threats that arise from edge computing, an innovative way to collect and analyse data in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. When implemented successfully, edge computing can improve network performance by reducing latency, which is the total time taken for data to traverse a system.

PETRAS 2 is the second phase of the PETRAS programme, funded by UK Research and Innovation as part of the Security Digital Technologies at the Periphery programme. This phase is aimed at strengthening the established platform, which since 2016 has coordinated and convened 11 universities and 110 industrial and government user partners in cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Specifically, Cardiff University will be leading on security in supply chains and control systems that underpin critical national infrastructure. This stream will be led by Pete Burnap, Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity in the School of Computer Science & Informatics. “Our work on the fusion of AI and risk modelling to better understand cascading failure under cyber-attack will transform the next generation of cyber security methodologies that protect IoT devices deployed in critical infrastructures of the future”, he said.

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