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Smart cities figure in cyber security research


Joint UK-Singapore initiative includes focus on security of transport systems and urban infrastructures

Two projects to preserve the future smooth running of smart cities have been included in the six to receive funding under a joint campaign by the UK and Singapore governments.

Teams from Southampton University and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are to work together on cyber security for smart traffic control systems; and two from Imperial College London and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will collaborate on security by design for interconnected critical infrastructures.

These are among six cyber security projects on which the UK and Singapore have agreed to collaborate under a joint initiative between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSCR) and the Asian city state’s National Research Foundation.

Between them the six projects have received funding of £2.4 million for the next three years, marking their success in the grant call that was announced in May.

Smart traffic

The Southampton-NYTU project is aimed at developing a solution framework to tackle the cyber security vulnerabilities of smart traffic control systems. It has three streams: developing a framework to deal with the different approaches of participating agents and humans; the use of game theory to discover and analyse major attack scenarios; and an online learning machine to develop real time defence mechanisms.

Imperial College and SUTD will focus on building security into the design of interconnected public infrastructures. This will involve modelling and analysis to improve the initial design of infrastructure systems to make them more resilient in the face of cyber attacks.

The other four projects are:

  • The University of Oxford and the National University of Singapore will work on security and privacy in smart grid systems.
  • The University of Kent will work with the National University of Singapore on vulnerability discovery using abduction and interpolation.
  • Surrey University and Singapore Management University will collaborate on computational modelling and automatic non-intrusive detection of human behaviour-based insecurity;
  • Imperial College and the National University of Singapore will work on machine learning, robust optimisation, and verification.

Matt Hancock, the minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “The research partnership between British and Singaporean universities will help both of our countries keep pace with the evolving cyber threat.  I have no doubt that these projects will produce ground breaking cyber security research and help protect us from threats online.”

Increased effort

The governments of both countries have been stepping up their efforts in cyber security over the past year. The UK recently announced a doubling of its central spending on its cyber capabilities to more than £3.2 billion, and Singapore has launched a Cyber Security Agency and has plans to double the number of staff from the current 100.

This is the second collaboration between the UK and Singapore to be announced in recent weeks. Last month London joined the city state in a “data sandbox” programme, aimed at helping individuals and companies build new services from publicly owned data.

mage: Harland Quarrington/MoD, Open Government Licence v1.0 through Wikimedia




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