The over $15-million competition looks to create a new research hub to explore the security challenges posed by the IoT (via EPSRC)
Watch the news on any given day and chances are there’s a story on the latest corporation to be hacked or yet another breach of cyber security at a government institution. Just last week it was revealed that the US was unsuccessful in attempting to deliver the Stuxnet virus to North Korea’s nuclear program. Why did it fail and why is it included in an article about IoT security? Simple- North Korea has no internet infrastructure and most developed nations have their nuclear power plants or uranium enrichment facilities connected to a network of some sort (see PLCs), essentially making them part of the industrial IoT.
A great example of this happened back in 2010 when Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad allegedly introduced the Stuxnet virus into Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants and shut them down- specifically the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium. The potential for disaster only increases as the IoT grows and as a result the demand for security increases, which is why the UK’s EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has started a competition to develop a £10million research hub to examine the security challenges surrounding the IoT.
The hub’s goals are centered on interaction, policy and governance on the increasing numbers of sensors and electronic devices that are capable of connecting to the internet as well as looking at the potential of supporting changes in the public service areas (smart meters, etc.). The Council released a call sheet detailing the overview of the competition that’s open primarily to university organizations but will also allow some community entities to take part as well. The call sheet details the competition parameters, which include the universities collectively combining with one another to reach ‘critical mass’ to address the concerns mentioned above.
The project is being backed by the initial investment of £10million (the winners will be granted a share of those funds), which is part of the government’s £40 million IoTUK Central Program, which encompasses the Research Hub, health and social care test beds, city demonstrators and incubator as well as a hardware accelerator program. The end result of this research is to help facilitate the UK as a leader in the IoT ecosystem with a broader spectrum of advancing smart cities. The organizations interested in joining the competition should submit their requests by July 20 with a deadline of September 2 of this year. It’s the hope of the EPSRC that the Hub will be ready to begin its formal research and activities by January 2016.
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