Dutch scientific financier NWO is making 2.3 million euros available for five major cybersecurity projects at the University of Twente. This is part of the NWO Cybersecurity call (with 10 projects in total). "This is a great success for the UT's cybersecurity research," says Andreas Peter, one of the involved researchers.
The UT scores well in the call ‘Cyber Security - Digital Security & Privacy’. Out of the ten projects that received funding, five are a project at the UT. The grants were awarded to projects by Johann Hurink (Full Professor of Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Programming), Pepijn Pinkse (Full Professor of Adaptive Quantum Optics), Aiko Pras (Full Professor of Internet Security), Anna Sperotto (Associate Professor in Design and Analysis of Communication Systems) and Andreas Peter (Associate Professor in Security & Privacy Engineering). In addition, Andreas Peter is also involved in a sixth project together with Eindhoven University of Technology.
One of the reasons why the UT scores so well in this call is because of the requirements that are set for the projects. Projects have to be multi-disciplinary, something that is a standard way of working for the UT with High tech - Human Touch. The projects also need at least 30% of company contributions. As an entrepreneurial university, the UT has excellent relationships with many companies. Below follows a summary of the five research projects.
In the ISoLATE project, Hurink is working together with Anne Remke of the University of Münster on an extra layer of security for the complex distribution network that controls renewable energy to ensure safe and secure energy distribution. "Using the grid topology and real-time measurements from neighbouring stations, a model of the state of substations is maintained, which allows identifying of malicious commands and false measurements", says Hurink.
In the SMOKE project, Pinkse investigates the possibility of using Physical Unclonable Keys (PUKs), such as a stroke of white paint, to secure sensitive communication networks. This should result in a highly secure and practical authentication system, because – as the name suggests – such a key cannot be cloned.
Most users of the Internet do not know how their traffic flows through the network to its final destination and cannot verify or control its path. The UPIN project from Pras will result in a system that gives Internet users the control and insight they do not have but urgently need.
Outsourcing security to the cloud is mainstream business practice. This has many benefits, such as the availability of skilled staff. Yey recent outages call these benefits into question. With the MASCOT project, Sperotto studies the resilience of the cloud to support security-conscious cloud strategies.
Peter's SHARE project develops advanced encryption techniques that allow for the sharing of sensitive data in encrypted form while enabling the private search on this encrypted data without the need to decrypt nor to reveal what is being searched for. SHARE applies these techniques in healthcare to protect medical data.
With the five projects, the UT is at the forefront of the Cyber Security research area. "As the University of Twente, we take our social responsibilities in the area of cybersecurity seriously," says Peter. In his view, their work in the field of cybersecurity is one of the important aspects when it comes to the digitisation of society. This is a mission on which the University of Twente is working from the Digital Society Institute and the faculty EEMCS, among others.