We are tackling cyber security problems that are important to society.
The Security and Privacy Group is a team of eleven academic staff based in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. For over a decade, the group has remained committed to its ethos of tackling cyber security problems that are important to society. Working in collaboration with academia, industry and government, the Group consistently produces internationally leading research on key issues that has led to the University of Birmingham being recognised as an NCSC-EPSRC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.
Building on an established strength in the analysis of security systems, the group's research is concerned with all aspects of security and privacy for society. Working flexibly and sustainably with industrial partners ranging from HP Labs to L-3 TRL to Jaguar Land Rover, the research at Birmingham is having real-world impact on products and services, safeguarding the security and privacy of businesses, governments and individuals.
Cyber security and privacy are issues that concern everyone living in this technologically dependent world. The work within our Security and Privacy Group is underpinned by considering critical technical and societal issues, ensuring we have the capacity to adapt and address new areas as the field evolves.
We are a group of eleven cyber security academics at the University of Birmingham.
As part of recent industry investment, the group has expanded with a new Lecturer in Computer Security. We are delighted to welcome Dr Christophe Petit, who joins us from the University of Oxford. Christophe's research expertise lies in cryptography and mathematics for cyber security, in particular the following areas:
We are producing internationally leading research on key issues in cyber security.
Work by Dr Flavio Garcia and Dr David Oswald on keyless entry systems in cars was presented at USENIX Security 2016. The research was featured globally in the media.
The project builds on previous work revealing vulnerabilities in automotive immobilisers, moving the focus to the security of keyless entry systems. Consisting of two models of attacks, the researchers demonstrated that there are significant vulnerabilities in systems used by major manufacturers from 1995 to today. The first approach showed that by recovering cryptographic algorithms and keys from electronic control units, an adversary is able to clone a remote control to gain access to a vehicle. The second approach presented a novel correlation-based attack on Hitag 2, which allows recovery of the cryptographic key and thus cloning of the remote control. The vulnerabilities require only use cheap hardware and a few minutes of computation on a laptop. The findings affect millions of vehicles worldwide and could explain unsolved insurance cases of theft from allegedly locked vehicles.
We are training the next generation of cyber security experts.
Two PhD students in the Security and Privacy group have been recognised in the University's 'Teaching Awards for PGRs who have demonstrated excellence in their conribution to teaching or supporting student learning'. Each College has one winner and up to two highly commended nominations. The prizes were awarded at an event held jointly with the Graduate School on 29 June 2017. The winners from our group are:
Congratulations to our students and to all the winners! We value the contribution PhD students make to teaching and the time they commit to supporting broader learning activities such as the University Hacking Club.
We are working with industry and government.
Professor Mark Ryan has recently been awarded a Research Chair in Cyber Security. This new role is funded by our industry partner HP Inc. Over the next five years, Mark will be working with HP on engineering cyber security and privacy for the future. This includes:
The Research Chair was launched at an event held in the School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham on 3 November 2016, attended by academic, industry and government representatives to show the support for and importance of this project from all sectors. The strategic partnership plays an important role in bridging the gap between industry and academia to ensure that the future is cyber secure for all of society, meeting the needs of companies and consumers while protecting privacy.
Our MSc Cyber Security has received full certification by GCHQ as part of their Certified Degrees. Students taking the accredited pathway will be following a programme that has been approved by UK national experts in cyber security for its high quality, for its support for students with the School of Computer Science’s excellent resources and facilities, and for the coverage of a broad range of topics that are essential for a career in cyber security. The GCHQ scheme is part of the National Cyber Security Strategy, and aims to help students and employers alike to assess the quality on offer and to identify the degree that best suits someone’s preferred career path.
GCHQ-certified degrees help:
To support the National Cyber Security Strategy in its aim to enhance the cyber skills of the UK, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport has confirmed £500k funding to continute a pilot to help adults who want to retrain for a job in cyber security by taking a GCHQ-accredited master’s degree. Up to £500k will be distributed between participating universities to help those who want to use their skills and work experience to move into a cyber security career. Those interested in applying must first be accepted onto participating courses and apply for the bursary through the university. The bursaries are part of a broader DCMS initiative to enhance the cyber security skills capacity of the UK, from schools to higher education. The initiative is part of the Government’s £1.9 billion investment to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security.
Eligibility for DCMS bursaries requires the following: