The threat of physical or cyber-attack targeting Critical Infrastructure (CI) is a key concern globally. Vulnerability to sudden service disruptions due to deliberate sabotage and terrorist attacks is a major threat. CI comprises goods and services such as clean air; the supply of water, electricity and gas; schools and hospitals; roads and bridges; railways and airports; telephone and the internet; information and communication; banking and finance; emergency services; sewage and refuse disposal, and so forth. The concept of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Security (CIPS) is associated with the readiness to respond to serious incidents encompassing the CI of a nation or region, as this infrastructure is crucial for the wellbeing and safety of nation states.
While individual infrastructure systems provide unique services, it is important to consider the interdependency of infrastructures, as the failure of one could lead to the collapse of many others, with the potential to close down crucial services. For example, a physical attack on an electricity grid can lead to the failure of a number of other services such as in hospitals, railways and airports. Similarly, a cyber-attack on the computer systems of emergency services can result in the unavailability of these services.
There are a number of ways in which CIPS challenge can be addressed. In this project, the focus will be on education and training to help detect and prevent threats to CI so that later catastrophes could be avoided.
The consortium consists of two UK universities: Staffordshire University and Newcastle University.
Staffordshire University has a strong research background in digital security, complemented with terrorism expertise in its Law Faculty, and also a reputation for excellence in employer engagement, recently shortlisted in the “Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative” in the Times Higher Ed. Awards. SU also have an excellent EU team, scoring 9/10 for mgt in most recent EU project EU - 510022-LLP-21-1-1-UK (http://www.wblqual.com). SU also has extensive contracts providing education for the MOD, including modules such as ‘The Business of War and Terrorism’. The project will draw expertise from across the HEIs wherever appropriate.
Newcastle University’s Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security (CCCS; http://cccs.ncl.ac.uk/) aims to address the global challenge of cybercrime and cyber security through its theme of Protecting Society’s Fabrics. GCHQ and EPSRC have acknowledged CCCS as one of the Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) in the UK. The CCCS team identifies future modes of cybercrime, design innovative, sustainable solutions for business and communities, to make digital economy safer for all.
Tom Anderson (Newcastle University)
Tom is a Professor in the School of Computing Science.
Budi Arief (PI for Newcastle University)
Budi is a Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security (CCCS) affiliated to the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University. Currently, the focus of his research is on cybercrime and cyber security, in particular on how technology can be used to help various stakeholders, including victims, law enforcement agencies, as well as university education.