09 December 2011
LJMU's School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences has launched the PROTECT Research Centre which will be dedicated to undertaking important, innovative and high quality research and development for critical infrastructure computer technology and protection.
Its key objectives include the determination of a strategic agenda for technology advancement in the subject area, engagement in world-class research, participation in active enterprise activities, encouragement of wide research dissemination, and promotion of close collaborations with other academic institutions and industries as well as government organisations.
Professor Madjid Merabti, Director of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Head of PROTECT, commented on the opening:
"The term critical infrastructure is primarily associated with facilities such as telecommunications, electrical power systems, financial services and many others, which are critical for the functioning of our society and economy. These universal services underlie practically all of the activities that society requires. Therefore they must be both reliable and trustworthy, particularly with strong resilience against growing cyber security attacks that constantly appear in news headlines.
"The Centre will aim to develop and apply trustworthy computer technology for the functional enrichment and security protection of critical infrastructure systems."
LJMU Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Nigel Weatherill, who officially opened the Centre at the School, said:
"I am delighted to see the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences take on this challenge to address real world issues related to protecting critical infrastructure through the launch of the PROTECT Research Centre. The research taking place has a strong emphasis on partnership working with organisations across a range of sectors, which is a key focus of the University."
The PROTECT Centre brings together researchers across a number of areas, including Computer Networks, Network Security, Computer Games Technology and Software Engineering. The existing research in these areas has already gained an excellent international reputation as evidenced by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) with 50% of the research rated as ‘world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'.
The establishment of the Centre provides further opportunities for the researchers to pool their research expertise to develop and apply state-of-the-art computer technologies in an integrated, consistent, systematic and rigorous manner for the advancement and protection of critical infrastructure systems.
The Centre’s researchers have long-standing collaborations with many companies and institutions nationally and worldwide, including most EU countries, Australia, Canada, China, Japan and USA. For example, their recent collaboration successfully secured a large EU project ANIKETOS with a total grant of €9.5 million, involving 17 partners from 10 EU countries to collaboratively develop secure and trustworthy composite Internet services.
Professor Merabti is also a specialist at IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), a professional association dedicated to technological advancements. He recently presented a key note speech on ‘Energy Supply Chain Security’ at the IEEE 3rd Latin-American Conference on Communications 2011. He was interviewed by press at the Conference in Brazil about energy security and its importance in a changing world.*
Professor Merabti has also been quoted in the media about new security threats relating to pervasive us of wireless communication devices such as smartphones and cloud computing. The Centre’s research will include research to investigate techniques and products to reduce the vulnerability of these systems.
Additionally he was a keynote speaker at a Symposium on security risk, cybercrime and critical infrastructure, organised and delivered with the support of Scottish Enterprise, Finmeccanica Cyber Solutions, and Edinburgh Napier University on 6th December.
This Symposium brought together knowledge from many different domains in order to create knowledge exchange and collaborative infrastructures, which address the key risks that Scotland faces. Further information about the Symposium is at http://scotlandcyber.com/
For further information please visit the Centre's website http://www.protect-ci.org/ or contact Professor Merabti, email: M.Merabti@ljmu.ac.uk or call 0151 231 2104
Pictured (left to right): Director of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Head of PROTECT Professor Madjid Merabti, Head of Intelligence and Security Merseyside Police Detective Chief Superintendant Alan Barr, Dr. Cath Watts from SELEX Elsag, Dr Adrian Waller from Thales Research and Technology and LJMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill
*Press interview at Brazil Conference (in Spanish)
Info Security magazine http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/22517/free-mobile-apps-are-not-free-of-malware-warns-ieee-experts/
Fresh Business Thinking http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?NID=11421&Title=2012+will+be+the+year+of+the+mobile+hack+according+to+global+engineering+body GovInfoSecurity.com http://blogs.govinfosecurity.com/posts.php?postID=1129
PR Newsire http://uk.sys-con.com/node/2079537
Computer Sight http://computersight.com/computers/smartphone-hacking-will-soar-in-2012-group-says/
International Business Times http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/258548/20111130/2-000-rogue-iphone-android-smartphone-apps.htm