Alan Turing Institute to help combat global cyber security challenges

The internationally renowned data science centre, The Alan Turing Institute, is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Defence to tackle global challenges from cyber security to civil conflict.

Alan Turing Institute - A number of shorter, strategically important projects, supported by funding from GCHQ have recently been announced - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
A number of shorter, strategically important projects, supported by funding from GCHQ have recently been announced – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The long-term projects aim to see The Alan Turing Institute provide vital insights and developments to the defence and security community.

They range from understanding conflict in high-risk populations, to revolutionising data analytics with AI, and prototyping innovative cloud-based security software.

This work has recently been bolstered by the announcement of a number of shorter, strategically important projects, supported by funding from GCHQ.

Each lasts up to six months in duration and hope to demonstrate immediate, meaningful impact, and address the key challenges that frame the defence and security programme.

From urban security threads to intelligent computing 

These challenges range from preventing and responding to urban security threats and improving cyber security, to understanding complex social systems through data and building privacy and trust in intelligent computing.

Dr Mark Briers, director of the defence and security programme, commented: “We have developed a comprehensive and complementary programme of research that draws across the breadth of data science, and the strengths of our university partners.”

These six new diverse projects are being led by world-leading researchers with expertise across a broad range of disciplines including computer science, machine learning, computational linguistics, mathematics, cryptography, international relations, and criminology.

Many of the problems being tackled in these projects have specific relevance not just to the defence and security community, but also to people’s everyday lives.

With increasing amounts of sensitive data being available, and the proliferation of cloud-based computing, advances in defence and security technology are becoming more and more essential to personal safety and privacy.

Dr Briers added: “These projects are expected to yield academic impact through publications, and real-world impact through software, which will be released for use and further development.”

The individual projects’ focuses:

  • Understanding online hacking forums – Using natural language processing to understand online hacker communities and predict which members are likely to commit cyber crime.
  • Adversarial machine learning – Studying how systems trained with machine learning can be affected by manipulated data, such as faked biometrics and hidden malware.
  • Evaluating homomorphic encryption – Exploring different ways of encrypting sensitive data that can allow for secure, outsourced computation in the cloud.
  • Computational modelling of civil wars – Simulating and modelling civil conflicts in a data-driven way, to understand the dynamics of these events.
  • Scalable topological data analysis – Developing software that enables meaningful conclusions to be drawn from the shape of massive, noisy, and potentially incomplete datasets

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