Cyber security is one of the current hot topics in Computer Science and society more broadly. It is an integral part of everything we do in a digital society. From messaging friends to making bank payments, from medical implants to the power network, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that all connected devices are secure.
Cyber Security deals with the design and analysis of these systems, and our research feeds into our teaching. There are many applications of cyber security, involving all types of connected systems and devices.
The approach we take to our research and teaching falls into two broad categories:
- Designing secure systems - as more and more of our devices are linked together, not just computers but everything from phones to door locks to vehicles, it is increasingly important that security is considered at the design stage. We want to make sure that future systems will be secure, and teach useful skills for programmers, engineers and designers in any industry.
- Analysing systems for security - there are many systems currently in use that may not have been built with security as a top priority. It is important to identify, understand and fix devices or systems that have vulnerabilities. Through formal analysis of code, automated techniques to check firmware, active penetration testing, or hardware side channel attacks, we analyse all manner of digital devices to find and fix vulnerabilities. Whether it is a drone, phone or car, we want to fix vulnerable systems to ensure they function securely and to protect user privacy.
Cyber security teaching
We understand the importance of providing you with both a strong theoretical grounding and relevant practical experience in order to be able to respond to a variety of roles and threats. Our teaching in Cyber Security includes:
- Security and Networks - as computers are embedded in everyday life, protection against the criminal or unauthorised use of electronic data is essential and measures must be taken to achieve this. The module will introduce a range of topics in the theory and practice of computer security, including attacks, vulnerabilities and defences. Cloud and web services will be used as a motivating example for the importance of security.
Cyber security research
We work on the following key issues:
- Applied cryptography - almost all cyber security is underpinned by cryptography. We research new forms of encryption and implementation from real-world applications.
- Embedded devices - from smart cards to IoT to trains, we work on all types of cyber physical systems.
- Automotive security - as cars become increasingly connected, we test and design ways to make them more secure.
- Wireless security - we work to make sure the ways information is carried is not vulnerable to an attack.
- Cloud security - we want to make sure that user data is secure and private without compromising functionality.
- Formal verification - at the design stage we use mathematics to provide proof that systems are secure.
- Electronic voting - we are working on ways to make online voting secure, verified and usable.
- Security and privacy for society - we want to make sure that user data is protected from attackers, working on issues that are important to government, industry and society as a whole.