Antipodean collaboration to kick cybercrime off shop floor
26 Jul 2022
Technology and manufacturing innovators from the UK and Australia are creating a map of security risks for 5G enabled factory floors.
Sydney-based University of New South Wales (UNSW) spin-out CyAmast, is pioneering its cyber security solution on 5G-enabled devices at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
CyAmast CEO explained: “Operational technologies (OT) including robots, sensors, computer numerical control (CNC) machines, and building management systems (BMS) are now armed with an increasing amount of software intelligence, data connectivity and autonomy. The introduction of a sheer number of smart OT devices opens up an unprecedented level of cyber risk to the next generation manufacturing shop floors.”
“This tool identifies and automatically generates profiles of each device based on its behaviour. It also provides real time and detailed information about all the relevant properties, such as the device's IP address, gateway, operating system, MAC address, manufacturer type and continuously monitors behaviour for the detection of any cyber risks associated with its use. “
AMRC North West hosts a 5G Factory of the Future testbed – £10 million programme funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – which is analysing how 5G techno can tackle manufacturing challenges.
Architect of AMRC North West’s research network, Abdul Wahab, explained that the site’s use of cutting-edge technology could impact the potential for cyber intrusions.
He said: “The AMRC employs an army of IoT devices, from a matchbox-sized embedded electronic circuit to full-size, high-performance servers and data centre equipment to collect and analyse a large amount of data. The heavy dependence on data transfer through IoT devices makes them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
“As more sensors are integrated into the system each day, there is a greater risk associated with these IoT devices. This requires robust technology to locate and understand the behaviour of these industrial devices.”
The international partnership was prompted in part by Sydney’s developing reputation as a cybersecurity hub. The New South Wales (NSW) Cyber Security Innovation Node was founded in July 2019. In July 2020, In July UNSW researchers raised A$1.3 million to fund CyAmast based on its devices to tackle cybercrime.
Dr Hassan Habibi Gharakheili, who leads UNSW’s research team in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications has focused on modelling and monitoring the behaviour of large-scale IoT networks using AI-based models.
He stated: “Jointly, we can reduce the attack surface of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, automatically characterise behaviour, rate potential cyber risks, and monitor behaviour to ensure they conform to allowed network policies.”