Building digital security systems to fight cybercrime

Cutting-edge cybersecurity advances are being used in fields such as finance and defence to help combat the global threats of cybercrime.

The digital age is opening up a world of possibilities, but it also brings threats in the sinister shape of cybercrime. One of the least-welcome growth industries, cybercrime costs the global economy an estimated $2.9 million per minute.

There are many challenges for researchers and developers:

  • safeguarding personal, business and government data from theft
  • protecting computer networks against intrusion
  • keeping mobiles, tablets and other devices clean of malware
  • defending vital digitally enabled infrastructure against hostile attack.

About the project

Based at Queen’s University Belfast, the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) is the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for cybersecurity. Its focus is on leading-edge research that can translate rapidly into market-relevant, market-ready products and services.

With core funding of £9 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), £5 million from Innovate UK and £10 million from Invest Northern Ireland, CSIT has been working shoulder to shoulder with industry to turn this aspiration into reality.

It has forged its reputation by devising solutions to increasingly serious and sophisticated cybercrime threats, and by using digital technologies to boost the safety and security of individuals and organisations worldwide. The CSIT is now both a partner of choice for big-name multinationals and a dynamic motor of local growth.

CSIT is home to a 90-strong team of engineers, electronic and computational researchers, business development specialists and highly motivated postgraduates.

Business members include Thales, Allstate and BAE Systems, and it also collaborates with First Derivatives, Seagate, Nvidia and other IT giants. Such partnerships add an extra dimension to its expansive vision and worldwide reach.

Impacts of the project

The research has led to a wide array of advances in cybersecurity with potential for a huge range of real-world applications. As a result, CSIT has developed a reputation as an authority on cybersecurity and is consulted by both government and business.

“None of this would have been possible without the substantial support received from EPSRC and Innovate UK,” says Dr Godfrey Gaston, Director of CSIT. “The core IKC funding, now stretching to 2021, sent out a big signal to industry that we’re a serious player.”

The centre is also a delivery partner for the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement. It provides mentoring to cybersecurity start-ups across the UK to help them break into domestic and world markets.

Find out more

Read more about the work of CSIT.

Top image:  Demonstration of cybersecurity system.

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