Cyber and AI experts bring ideas to life to tackle national security concerns
Cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI) experts at De Montfort Leicester University (DMU) had the opportunity to turn their ideas into commercial products as part of a government-funded accelerator program.
The initiative, called CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Program), is funded by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and implemented by KTN and Innovate UK. It aims to develop and maintain a security sector that meets national security requirements as part of the government’s £ 1.9bn national cybersecurity strategy.
(Image: Adi Goldstein / Unsplash)
Two teams made up of academics from the Cyber Technology Institute (CTI) and the Institute of Artificial Intelligence (IAI) at DMU were successful in securing funding in the first phase of the program, requiring each team to identify the value proposition of their potential product.
With the support of KTN, the two teams acquired many of the skills needed to operate in a start-up environment, through a series of interventions (including bootcamps, workshops and mentoring), giving participating teams vital information on the key steps required to transport their product from the lab to the market.
Dr Richard Smith, Associate Professor of Cyber Security at DMU, said: “The CyberASAP program equips academics with the skills to operate in the commercial world. It is about using the skills base of UK universities and teaching academics how to harness their research, skills and expertise in the commercial market.
CyberASAP was launched in 2017 and has since helped over 90 UK university teams develop their innovations.
The first DMU team, called CyberAgents, is led by Dr Smith alongside Professor Daniela Romano. Together, they are developing an incident response team using hybrid human / AI technology.
“Many organizations have limited incident response capacities and need to improve them in a secure environment,” explained Dr. Smith. “We use behavioral science and data science to create an innovative human / AI team defending together.
“The AI agent learns human creativity but with faster reasoning than a human, and can fill any skill gap in an organization’s capabilities. In addition, the more the agent learns, the more he improves.
The second team, “SACRED”, is led by Dr Mary He, alongside Professor Yingjie Yang and Dr Francisco J Aparicio Navarro.
They are developing a unique and innovative web security tool, based on advanced AI technology, to detect malicious web bots (computer programs calibrated to automatically search the Internet, also known as a spider or bot), thereby protecting online services and websites of companies or organizations and ensure the confidentiality and security of their customers’ data.
“Both teams made an effort to analyze the market size, competitors and potential collaborators of their potential products,” added Dr He. “The CyberASAP initiative will accelerate the pace of cybersecurity development in the UK, addressing global cybersecurity challenges and thereby helping to implement the UK national security strategy; to use all of our national capabilities to build prosperity for Britain, expand our nation’s influence in the world and strengthen our security.
Dr Smith added, “CyberASAP not only helps develop the innovation produced by the academics at DMU, but it also increases the footprint and brand of our university in the business sector. “
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021