DiScriBe: Digital Security by Design Social Science Hub+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: School of Management

Abstract

Technological advances have done, and will do, much to improve cybersecurity. But, a technological approach is only part of the solution - achieving digital security is inherently a socio-technical endeavour. By combining world-leading research with challenge fellows from across the social sciences, expert working groups, innovative approaches to networking and agile, industry-facing commissioning, the DiScriBe Hub+ will not only address the challenges faced by the ISCF Digital Security by Design (DSbD) initiative, but will fundamentally reshape the ways in which social sciences and STEM disciplines work together to address the challenges of digital security by design in the 21st Century.

The core missions of the DiScriBe Hub+ are to provide interdisciplinary leadership to realise digital security by design by connecting social science to a hardware layer that rarely receives support or engagement from social science. This social science input will help to unleash the transformational potential that the hardware innovations within Digital Security by Design makes possible. The Hub+ has five main ways of doing this: 1) Running a series of deep engagements with DSbD stakeholders using techniques from the arts and humanities in order to elicit a shared view of 'Digital Security by Design Futures' 2) Conducting an innovative programme of interdisciplinary research to improve our understanding of the barriers and incentives around adoption of new secure architectures, business readiness levels and adoption, regulatory opportunities and challenges, and ways these are experienced and understood across diverse sectors; 3) Commissioning a range of agile, responsive, industry-facing projects and 'connecting capabilities' grants to address specific DSbD challenges; 4) Establishing a network of 'challenge fellows' tasked with synthesising research outcomes (core and commissioned), connecting insights to the wider Digital Security by Design initiative, and ensuring impact, alongside expert working groups comprising industry and researchers to tackle specific problems in a sharp, focussed way; and, 5) Building a community of social scientists, hardware engineers, software developers, industry and policy makers who are deeply engaged in applying a socio-technical lens to digital security by design.

DiScriBe is unique in its focus on the benefits of connecting security architecture innovation with leading social science - and will provide a step change in how cybersecurity is treated as an inter-disciplinary, social as well as technical, problem. Many of the lessons on cross disciplinary working will be tested and embedded through close working with the Bristol Digital Futures Institute - a £70m investment in how our ways of working will need to change in the digital future. We have expert challenge fellows who are leading social scientists applying their work to cybersecurity for the first time. These fellows will also lead working groups on specific topics connecting industry, policy and academia, which in turn will lead to a range of open calls for commissioned industry-facing research. This research will be both theoretically rigorous within social science, while also remaining responsive and agile enough to meet the needs of the wider DSbD programme. As a consequence, a major outcome of DiScriBE will not only be a vibrant, new community, but novel insights that can be applied to the development and implementation of new security-related developments.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Adam Joinson is a member of the Digital Security by Design Advisory Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Partners for original Discribe Hub+ - Airbus 
Organisation Airbus Group
Department Airbus Defence and Space UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+
Collaborator Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+, as well as contributing to project workshops and offering a member to the Advisory Board
Impact Too early in the project to have made a contribution, this will be listed as the project progress
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partners for original Discribe Hub+ - HSBC 
Organisation HSBC Bank plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+
Collaborator Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+, as well as contributing to project workshops and offering a member to the Advisory Board
Impact Too early in the project to have made a contribution, this will be listed as the project progress
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partners for original Discribe Hub+ - Microsoft 
Organisation Microsoft Research
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+
Collaborator Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+, as well as contributing to project workshops and offering a member to the Advisory Board
Impact Too early in the project to have made a contribution, this will be listed as the project progress
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partners for original Discribe Hub+ - RSA 
Organisation RSA Secuirty LLC
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+
Collaborator Contribution Co-created the original proposal for the Discribe Hub+, as well as contributing to project workshops and offering a member to the Advisory Board
Impact Too early in the project to have made a contribution, this will be listed as the project progress
Start Year 2020
 
Description DCMS & DiScriBe Hub - introduction call 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact DCMS & DiScriBe Hub - introduction call, to introduce the project to DCMS and begin communications with them
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description DSbD Hub+ Introduction to ESRC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact DSbD Hub+ Introduction to ESRC contact
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DiScriBe & Digital Catapult - initial discussion 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact DiScriBe & Digital Catapult initial discussion to introduce the project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Discribe Hub+ and ESRC spending catch up 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discribe Hub+ and ESRC spending catch up - Discribe informing the ESRC of the spending for the project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description ESRC & Discribe Hub+ finances & invoicing meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact ESRC & Discribe Hub+ finances & invoicing meeting, to discuss payments of invoices and other project finances
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Futures Work Engagement Activities September 2020-March 2021 
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 DSbD Futures Interviews
20 key national and international ISCF DSbD stakeholders with particular expertise and unique insights into this challenge were identified by the project team and invited to take part in an interview, resulting in 11 x one-to-one and small group semi-structured online interviews (lasting 60-90 minutes). We asked participants to share their particular insights into the future possibilities offered by the adoption of new secure technologies (specifically CHERI and Morello boards) and the challenges likely to be faced in an uncertain future. The aim of this activity was to connect with those with expert knowledge of the technology (both the hardware architectures and software) to help generate new insights into the sociotechnical possibilities and challenges likely to be involved in the adoption of DSbD. The conversations were not recorded but a set of anonymized notes were transcribed, shared with interviewees, and illustrated by an animator - producing a data-set consisting of written and visual research notes capturing the key points of interviews and group discussions.

As a result of these engagements/ interviews, the most significant outcome/impact is the understanding that the DSbD community is fragmented in terms of what it sees as the value proposition of the DSbD programme, its scope and feasibility, and how to communicate this.

Overview of stakeholder interviews held to date (anonymized) September 2020-March 2021:

1. Complexity (or, How to drawn an owl)
2. Evolution
3. Selling Stories
4. Transformations
5. Dry-Stone Walling
6. Boxing Gloves
7. Buckets
8. Technical Specs
9. Containers
10. Wildlife Park
11. Use Cases
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Hub overview to EPSRC Round 1 projects 
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 Hub overview to EPSRC Round 1 projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Innovate UK & Discribe Hub - catch up call 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Innovate UK & Discribe Hub - catch up call, to introduce new Hub Managers and receive updates on progress from both Discribe and Innovate UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description UKRI research announcement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discribe Hub+/ UKRI research announcement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020