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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N020030/1
Title: Machine Learning, Robust Optimisation, and Verification: Creating Synergistic Capabilities in Cybersecurity Research
Principal Investigator: Huth, Professor MR
Other Investigators:
Wiesemann, Dr W
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Intel Corporation Ltd KPMG (UK) National University of Singapore
Department: Dept of Computing
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2016 Ends: 30 June 2019 Value (£): 202,161
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals of Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Oct 2015 Singapore-UK Cyber Security Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The need for better support to deal with the threats of cybersecurity is undisputed. Organisations are faced with an ever growing number of malware and integrated malware attack tools, attempted attacks on infrastructure and services, an increasing number of insider attacks, and advanced persistent threats for high-priced assets. Dealing with such threats requires that organisations have ICT staff that is at least familiar with cybersecurity issues and preferably has actual skills in cybersecurity regardless of the role of such staff. Likewise, management and decision makers need to be aware of cybersecurity issues and reflect these in their actions. Large organisations often have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who deals with the operational and strategic issues of cybersecurity for his or her organisation. But SMEs typically cannot afford a role with such oversight on cybersecurity, which makes them especially vulnerable.

The scale and diversity of cybersecurity issues that an organisation faces means it cannot possibly consider each single vulnerability of its systems against each credible or potential adversary whose presence would turn a vulnerability into an actual threat. A CISO or decision maker, though, needs to have a fairly abstract view of all this complexity where the choice of abstraction is not driven by technical aspects but by modalities such as risk, compliance, availability of service, and strategy. This view often has to take into account the cybersecurity of external or partner organisations, which is problematic as organisations are reluctant to share such sensitive information. Therefore, a CISO or decision maker needs a representation of relevant internal or external systems and services that allows him or her to make decisions of either operational or strategic nature.

The uncertainty expressed in such abstractions is typically probabilistic or strict in nature. For example, a bank may have a good idea of the probability that a given teller machine has a corrupted external interface that clones inserted bank cards, based on past history, location of the machine and so forth. Strict uncertainty often relates to threats for which no (or insufficient) historical information is available to estimate probability distributions, or it is used to express the combinatorial nature of a problem, for example the different orderings in which one may schedule critical tasks.

This project brings together research leaders in machine learning, robust optimisation, verification and cybersecurity to explore new modelling and analysis capabilities for needs in cybersecurity. The project will investigate new approaches for modelling and optimisation by which cybersecurity of systems, processes, and infrastructures can be more robustly assessed, monitored, and controlled in the face of stochastic and strict uncertainty. Particular attention will be paid to privacy: new forms of privacy-preserving data analytics will be created and approaches to decision support that respect privacy considerations; for corporate confidentiality, we will invent foundations that enable different organisations to model and analyse cross-organisational cybersecurity aspects whilst respecting the type of privacy inherent in organisations' confidential information by establishing appropriate information barriers.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk