Research undertaken by academics in the Centre is largely focused on solving challenging, applied problems faced by IT users world-wide. Below are some example collaborative projects:
Monitoring the vast array of information sources within IT systems to identify potential security problems and perform mitigation activity is challenging and requires skilled experts. Many businesses are facing challenges with recruiting and maintaining cyber-security expertise and this deficit is resulting in many being left unable to adequately secure their systems. Research undertaken in the Centre has resulted in the development of an intelligent technique capable of the autonomous extraction of analysis and configuration activities from monitoring security activity without any additional human resources. More specifically, the technique relies on system Event logs and Association Rule Mining, Causal Analysis, and Automated Planning algorithms to perform the analysis within a reasonable amount of time. The technique uses this knowledge to facilitate less skilled users, enabling them to perform in-depth monitoring and mitigation activities. More information in this paper.
Auditing access controls
During his time as Digital Catapult Researcher in Residence, Simon Parkinson undertook research, guided by end-user consultation, into machine learning techniques of detecting irregular access control permissions without any prior knowledge (i.e., they are unsupervised). This resulted in the development of a new modeling and learning technique, which was applied to Microsoft’s New Technology File System permissions as a case study. Known as Creeper, this new software automatically reviews access control permissions across a network and alerts you when a user does not appear to have permissions that are appropriate to their current role. More information can be found in a Digital Catapult Blog and the software is also available here.
Researchers within the centre are focused on solving challenges faced by the industry. This focus has enabled many successful collaborative relationships which have resulted in research being undertaken with a real-world emphasis, ensuring benefits outside of the technical research communities. Two recent examples include collation with Kirklees Council, where Centre staff are developing new cyber-security monitoring technologies through working collaboratively with Council staff. This successful partnership has resulted in the formation of a strong alliance, delivering impactful research. Another example is a collaboration with Probado Ltd, an outsourced IT provider based here in Huddersfield, which has enabled staff to have exposure to challenging problems within the security sector.
Researchers within the Centre are collaborating with academics from research organisations from around the world. In one recent piece of work, researchers successfully acquired funding to review cyber threats and vulnerabilities with Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. This research has not only resulted in a widely cited paper, but it has also resulted in collaboration and outreach in widely read scientific magazines, such as New Scientist and Physics World.