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Singapore and UK to join hands for Cybersecurity Initiatives

Recently, NUS has been awarded with almost $1 million through three NUS Computing and NUS Mechanical Engineering projects under the inaugural Singapore-UK Joint Grant Call for Cybersecurity Research.

The results of the $5.1 million joint call by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Singapore’s National Research Foundation were announced in December 2015. The grant will fund a total of six projects over three years.

This call was launched in May 2015. It aims to build up knowledge and proficiency in cybersecurity as well as foster closer collaboration between researchers of both countries in this area of study. Out of 22 proposals, six proposals will be selected and jointly evaluated by cybersecurity experts. These chosen projects will cover research areas in Intrusions, Data Analytics, Human Factors, and Sectors and Applications.

Out of the three awarded projects, two were from NUS Computing.

The first project, “Security and Privacy in Smart Grid Systems: Countermeasure and Formal Verification” was led by NUS Computing Associate Professor Dong Jin Song with University of Oxford Professor Andrew Martin.

In brief, this project aims to study and boost the security in smart grids –electrical grids that manage electricity demand in a more sustainable and economic manner. Within these grids, data has to be privacy-sensitive as personal information can be inferred from energy usage traces.

The second project, “Vulnerability Discovery using Abduction and Interpolation” was led by NUS Computing Professor Joxan Jaffar and University of Kent Professor Andy King.

This project is about performing analysis over machine code to find security vulnerabilities. Its main objective is to develop theoretical foundations as well as practical techniques for security engineers, to equip them with automatic tools that are able to detect security loopholes in the binary code. This considering the fact that current security engineers are often unable to determine vulnerability points in a programme as they are not privy to the source code.

The third project, “Machine learning, Robust Optimisation and Verification: Creating Synergistic Capabilities in Cybersecurity Research,” was spearheaded by NUS Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Xu Huan and Imperial College Professor Michael Huth.

The objective of the project is to provide decision-makers a method to represent the systems and services in a principled manner, so as to facilitate good operational or strategic decisions on cybersecurity. It will also focus on the areas of privacy as new forms of privacy-preserving data analytics as well as new approaches to decision support that respect privacy considerations are being developed.

Thus, in the process of doing up all these projects, both the UK and Singapore might be able to enjoy stronger ties in this aspect of cyber security and at the same time get to exchange and pick up new knowledge from one another which goes a long way in also helping to consolidate foundation for further developments in cyber security for both parties.  

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