Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research - University of Kent

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Sch of Computing

Abstract

Cyber Security has been established as a university level priority area at the University of Kent. Our Cyber Security research has had a strong focus on interdisciplinarity since 2012, when the university wide Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS) was established. We believe that Cyber Security challenges cannot be solved using only technological solutions, and that we need the involvement of researchers from other disciplines. A collaborative approach allows us to benefit from, and be inspired by, theories and solutions from disciplines such as psychology, physics, biology, and social sciences. Interdisciplinary collaboration has led Kent researchers to a number of major successes in external funding.

Cyber Security capabilities at the University of Kent are on four main research themes: Authentication and Authorisation; Communication and Network Security; Security Testing and Verification; and Socio-technical Security. We also have capabilities on four other cross-cutting topics: applications of AI related technologies in Cyber Security; digital forensics and cybercrime; information hiding; and quantum cyber security. Our work on AI spans all four research themes, and covers diverse techniques including machine learning, data mining, information visualisation, discrete optimisation, and soft computing.

In addition to conducting cutting-edge research, we aim to make KirCCS an innovation and impact creation hub in Cyber Security through activities on education (e.g., supporting the NCSC-certified MSc in Cyber Security programme at Kent), public engagement (e.g., conducting Cyber Security surveys and working with public media to inform and raise awareness of the general public about Cyber Security), serving government (e.g., helping law enforcement agencies to fight against threats such as cybercrime), helping industry (e.g., providing consultancies to and co-exploiting research results with industrial partners), and technology transfer (e.g., through patenting and university spin-offs). Cyber Security researchers at Kent have an excellent track record in all these areas.

The Kent ACE-CSR will work with other ACEs-CSR to enhance the international profile of UK Cyber Security research.

Planned Impact

In addition to its academic impact, interdisciplinary research on Cyber Security at the proposed Kent ACE-CSR will benefit the society as a whole in at least three different ways: 1) the technical research we do will help build better technologies for protecting people and businesses in the cyber(-physical) world; 2) our work in the Socio-Technical Security theme and research done by our Associate Members from other disciplines will generate impact beyond technologies, e.g., approaches to better understanding of human behaviour, better information security management procedures and policies, better approaches to educating people and engaging end users, better cybercrime investigation and prevention methods, better privacy and data protection mechanisms improving people's lives in the cyber(-physical) world; 3) the impact creation and public engagement activities planned will help transfer our research to the real world.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This is not a research project, but a research centre project and the funding covers managerial matters only. The main finding for this project is that we found the EPSRC funding and the NCSC recognition helped the University of Kent to grow its cyber security research capabilities significantly.
Exploitation Route The Kent ACE-CSR will continue to be the hub promoting cyber security research across different disciplines at the University of Kent, and allow more impact generation activities beyond research.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

URL https://cyber.kent.ac.uk/
 
Description As a research centre project, Kent ACE-CSR has produced a lot of non-academic impacts already as listed in our engagement activities. This will continue in future years.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Engaging MSc and UG research students in KirCCS activities
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1), has been engaging MSc and UG research students in its activities in various ways, such as inviting them to attend research seminars and other events, providing a dedicated seminar slot for them to present their research projects, offering internship and part-time research assistant opportunities, etc.
 
Title Cyber Securtiy Taxonomy 
Description As part of a research paper (https://doi.org/10.1145/3339252.3339282), we produced a data-driven general taxonomy to cover many different aspects of cyber security information online. The whole taxonomy has been released as open data and a website is set up to allow interactive visualisation of the taxonomy. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The taxonomy was just released a few weeks ago now, so its impact is still to be seen. We will disseminate it more widely and plan to add support to allow other researchers to co-evolve the taxonomy. The taxonomy is hosted on the website of Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1), and will be maintained as part of core open data from KirCCS. 
URL https://cyber.kent.ac.uk/research/cyber_taxonomy/
 
Description 2019 Summer School on The Human Aspects of Cyber-crime and Online Fraud 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 15-17 July 2019: Summer School on The Human Aspects of Cyber-crime and Online Fraud, hosted at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK; funded by the International Association for Research in Economic Psychology (IAREP), co-organised with the Institute of Applied Economics and Social Value, De Montfort University. This was an event jointly organised by the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR and the Institute of Applied Economics and Social Value, De Montfort University. It was co-funded by the International Association for Research in Economic Psychology (IAREP).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/summer-school-on-the-human-aspects-of-cyber-crime-and-online-fraud-ti...
 
Description ARES 2019 and CD-MAKE 2019 conferences and co-located workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 26-29 August, 2019: ARES 2019 (14th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security), CD-MAKE 2019 (3rd International IFIP Cross Domain Conference for Machine Learning & Knowledge Extraction) and other co-located workshops, hosted at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. This was an event jointly organised by EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1) and the SBA Research in Austria.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://2019.ares-conference.eu/
 
Description Cyber cecurity activity sheet for school pupils 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Shujun Li and Jason Nurse, "How to Beat the Cybercriminals and Stay Safe Online," Futurum Careers, Issue 4, pages 32-33, March 2020, DOI:10.33424/FUTURUM43. This article is published both in press and online, and the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1) is planning to run a number of workshops to engage with local school pupils. The article covers research done in EPSRC funded projects ACCEPT (EP/P011896/2) and PriVELT (EP/R033749/1), and other wider research at the Kent ACE-CSR.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://doi.org/10.33424/FUTURUM43
 
Description Cyber security engagement event for public sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 16 July 2019: Network Defenders' "Hacking" competition, hosted at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK; co-organised with the EK Services and the GOETEC Consortium. This was an event jointly organised by the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1), EKS and GOETEC Consortium.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invitated talk at NCSC funded Cyber Security PhD Winter School 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact An invited talk "When will passwords die? Research challenges and opportunities in user authentication", 2020 UK PhD Winter School on Cyber Security, organised by the University of Newcastle, the University of Bristol, NCSC and EPSRC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Kent Cyber Security Forum (KCSF) 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact KCSF 2019 is the 2nd annual public engagement event of the Kent ACE-CSR, and this event had a special focus on serving local businesses and university students. It was attended by a good range of people from universities, industry and government. A number of research projects and external organisations supported this event and some public media sent journalists to the event. A marketing video was made for the event which has been used to help advertise the work of Kent ACE-CSR provides to the general public. A more detailed explanation of the event can be found at the event's web page.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://cyber.kent.ac.uk/events.html#KCSF2019
 
Description KirCCS Advisory Board Meeting 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Advisory Board of Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), i.e., the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1) was held in Feb 2020. It allowed researchers at KirCCS to engage with a wide range of cyber security professionals from another ACE-CSR (Birmingham), industry and an NGO (Cyber Readiness Institute) to discuss how KirCCS can be developed further into the next stage including the plan of setting up a larger cyber security institute and setting up new taught degree programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Outreaching activities of student ambassadors 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A number of PhD students of the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1) have been contributing to outreaching activities related to cyber security from 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Panel discussion on cyber security education and research at CPHC 2019 conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participated a panel discussion on cyber security education and research as part of CPHC (Council of Professors and Heads of Computing) Annual Conference 2019 at Middlesex University, London, UK. Other panelists include researchers from other UK universities and the ACEs-CSR manager from NCSC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://cphc.ac.uk/2019-cphc-conference/
 
Description Poster presentation at a Machine Learning workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This is a workshop organised jointly by the Kent Innovation and Enterprise with School of Computing, where posters about EPSRC funded project ACCEPT, PriVELT and the Kent ACE-CSR were displayed. The main audience of the event was businesses from local regions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description PriCom 2019 conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 19-21 August 2019: PriCom 2019 (5th International Symposium on Privacy Computing), hosted at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. This was an event jointly organised by the EPSRC funded Kent ACE-CSR (EP/S018964/1), CISPC (Chinese Information Processing Society of China), Institute of Information Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://cyber.kent.ac.uk/events/PriCom2019/
 
Description TV interview on Huawei's role in 5G development in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An interview on UK government's announcement regarding allowing Huawei to participate in "non-core" part of 5G development in the UK, interviewed by KMTV, Canterbury, UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019