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Digital Security by Design

This challenge aims to tackle the most damaging cyber security threats, helping to ensure the UK remains one of the safest places to do business online. It aims to ensure every UK organisation and consumer is as resilient to cyber threats as possible.


Digital Security by Design

What is the Digital Security by Design challenge?

The ISCF Digital Security by Design challenge aims to radically update the foundation of the UK’s insecure digital computing infrastructure. The challenge will:

  • Increase cyber security for businesses, government and the wider public and economy;
  • Increase productivity to the UK through reduction of days lost to cyber-attacks;
  • Make the UK market-leader through new capabilities fostering the trust that is necessary for successful adoption of future digital services in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things (IoT).

Talks from our previous events articulate the ambition and scale of DSbD.

“We have a volume problem. It’s about fixing the large number of reported and unreported issues in hardware and software”
Paul Walker, National Centre for Cyber Security

DSbD | NCSC - Paul Waller from Knowledge Transfer Network on Vimeo.

“Take off the bandage and fix the wound”
John Goodacre, DSbD Challenge Director

DSbD | UKRI - John Goodacre from Knowledge Transfer Network on Vimeo.

“DSbD gives the industrial scale we’ve only been able to think about”.
Robert Watson, Cambridge University

DSbD | Cambridge University - Robert Watson from Knowledge Transfer Network on Vimeo.

“This is a very big commitment. It isn’t another piece of gaffer tape’.
Richard Grisenthwaite, Arm

DSbD | ARM - Richard Grisenthwaite from Knowledge Transfer Network on Vimeo.

Further talks and videos are available online.

What’s the investment?

The Digital Security by Design programme is funded by £70 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is matched by funding of up to £117 million from industry.

What are the opportunities?

Enhanced connectivity and greater machine intelligence through pervasive AI, IoT, smarter manufacturing and cities, autonomous vehicles, and the broader data economy make cyber security a critical and growing issue for businesses, governments and citizens. It is acknowledged that this threat is getting bigger and more expensive to combat.

The World Economic Forum Risks Report 2018 lists data fraud/theft and cyber-attacks as a key global risk. As such, cyber security is a major UK Government strategic priority. Addressing this challenge would have stopped the leakage of 3 billion accounts in just the recent attacks, and the WannaCry ransomware that hit the NHS.

The scope of this challenge includes implementation, verification and proof of an updated hardware architecture, development of the software and system development tools that will run on it, and demonstration in at least two industry domains. The challenge covers three areas of activity:

  • Technology Platform Prototype
  • Collaborative R&D – software development; enabling use
  • Up to four business-led demonstrators

The first wave of funding was awarded to Arm to develop a technology platform prototype which is more resistant to cyber-threats. The multi-year project also involves open source software specialists Linaro, and academic partners – the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. The project has the potential to make it far harder for hackers to attack technology infrastructure and remotely take control of computer systems, leading to increased resilience for all companies and organisations working in the digital economy.