Research programme SCULI set to provide cybersecurity at scale | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The SCULI programme has received £6.3m in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to provide cybersecurity at a societal scale.

The Securing Convergent Ultra-large Scale Infrastructures (SCULI) programme will be led by teams from Lancaster University, the University of Bristol, and the University of Oxford.

The teams will work with partners across industry and policy to implement large-scale cybersecurity measures across the UK.

Why is cybersecurity at scale important for UK infrastructures?

According to the House of Commons inquiry into Cyber Resilience of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, the UK is the third most targeted country in the world for cyberattacks after the US and Ukraine.

The pace of change in digital technologies is increasing, from smart buildings to connected cities and our critical infrastructure. Subsequently, this increases our dependence on them, too.

As dependence increases, so does the risk of cyber-attacks and large-scale disruptions to infrastructures.

About the SCULI programme

The SCULI programme will draw on a unique mix of expertise to transform the way we deliver cybersecurity in a world with unprecedented connectivity.

Currently, experts build and test cybersecurity approaches for components and systems on a small scale. These are then scaled up to the infrastructures deployed to deliver services to citizens.

The SCULI programme focuses on transforming the way we secure critical infrastructures, helping us understand the problems at scale and designing solutions that work at that scale.

The complexity cannot be removed and is instead embraced as part of the problem achieved through designing and testing technical advances.

Professor Awais Rashid, head of Bristol Cyber Security Group – SCULI Programme lead said: “The scale and ambition of the SCULI programme has already enabled us to mobilise key industry, government and international partnerships to ensure that research advances are informed by real-world situations and flow through to real-world infrastructures.”

Key developments of the project

Within the SCULI programme, researchers are developing a model capable of dynamically representing cyber security in real-time. This model introduces new metrics aimed at enhancing decision-making processes regarding cyber risks.

Additionally, the initiative explores innovative methods to harmonise and manage security provisions across a diverse range of infrastructures. This includes devising strategies that accommodate both legacy and modern system elements.

The SCULI programme is spearheading advancements in detection capabilities, enabling the accurate and timely assessment of security within operational infrastructures. Such developments aim to ensure continuous oversight and foster trust in these systems.

The teams are also creating incident response playbooks tailored specifically for ultra-large-scale infrastructures. These aim to optimise decision-making processes, striking an optimal balance between human intervention and automated responses during cyber attacks.

Sadie Creese, Professor of Cybersecurity at the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, said: “With the UK facing unprecedented risks to its critical services, the SCULI programme promises a crucial and timely shift in the scientific approach to the cybersecurity of large-scale infrastructure.”


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