Sunday, 22 October 2017

TFInstitute Autumn Conference on 'Security & Trust'

Security and Trust
How to empower and protect all users?

The Tommy Flowers Autumn Conference took place 26–27 September 2017 - our third conference in the Institute’s first year. 

Over 130 people attended across the two days, with students and academics from across more than a dozen universities and with senior representatives from some of the world’s biggest ICT companies and Innovation Martlesham members - with ADVA, Sandvine, Vodafone, Huawei, Cisco; Intel and the National Crime Agency all presenting.

The event went exceptionally well with excellent feedback from both students and industry.

The conference focussed on Security and Trust, addressing how the ICT industry must protect customers and themselves from deliberate external and internal attacks. How technology can empower users and how new capabilities can, in turn, enable new kinds of attack or have unintended consequences - resulting in a constant evolution across technology, user behaviour and the perception of human rights.
Professor Ben Azvine – BT Research & Innovation’s Global head of security research and innovation hosted the event.
"Cyber security is, in my opinion, one of the greatest man-made challenges of our time", explained Ben. "The frequency and impact of breaches is increasing and we need to continuously adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the threat environment."
Over the course of the conference, a number of panel sessions were held addressing:
  • The wider society viewpoint
  • The industrial view point
  • Industry’s perspectives on Security
Addressing the societal viewpoint, the audience were treated to an interactive panel session with Prof Howard Shrobe (Director of Cyber Security @ CSAIL, MIT); Ian Daft (National Crime Agency) and Prof Lorna McGregor (Director of University of Essex Human Rights Centre).
Howard discussed case studies looking at pitfalls in the current security design architectures and discussed new architectures that could lead to 3 classes of benefits - Prevention; Resilience and Regeneration – allowing systems to recover more quickly from attacks to fully functional states.
Ian Daft explained the workings of the NCA, discussing the fight to cut serious and organised crime; how innovating with industry is so important and gaining confidence and trust from the public.
Prof Lorna McGregor provided a fascinating insight into "algorithmic accountability" – in other words, when so much of our lives are now controlled by algorithms (Artificial Intelligence software applying statistical techniques to huge data-sets), how do we know who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that are being made, and how can we challenge them?
The industrial panel session was chaired by Alex Healing, BT Research & Innovation’s Chief Researcher Visual Analytics. He was joined by Kevin Smith (Senior Technology Strategist, Vodafone); Igor Shaula (Solutions Architect, Intel) and Chris Roberts (Security Service Creation, Cisco). Each provided an interesting perspective, discussing:
  • The future of security
  • How it is important to include the security aspects into new technology designs
  • Increased expectations from technology by the customer
  • 5G network demands including fast, resilient, adaptable and secure
  • Improving customer experience without breaching customer privacy
  • Virtual Reality services
  • Industry being responsible for Big Data
The BT Research and Innovation’s Security practice provided an in-depth Industrial case study, describing the challenges and changing threats of the landscape and by collaborating with industry and Universities, a whole host of hot topics can be addressed including: CLOUD environments; IoT Security; machine assisted cyber threat hunting; authentications; pattern based anomaly detection; Blockchain architecture; cryptography; flexible interactive visualisation; Intelligence Augmentation and Bitcoin.
An industrial panel, consisting of Huawei (Jerry Thompson and Michael Hill- King); ADVA Optical Networking (Uli Schlegel) and Sandvine (Matt Farmer) provided an insight into their perspectives on security, discussing embedded security in devices; CLOUD architectures; post quantum and terabit encryption; problems with IoT devices and how to learn from their behaviour and how they pull innovation from universities.
Throughout the conference and using the lessons learned from each of the panel sessions, breakout sessions were held discussing the most important scientific research challenges (to protect from attacks; to defend human rights and to enable society to prosper) and how the research of the post graduate researchers could contribute.
Key points captured:
  • We must secure systems to help society prosper
  • We need to understand how national crime agencies come into play
  • We should approach security from a holistic point of view – developing technology to improve our lifestyle, thereby improving the world to become a better place
  • The importance to educate and empower the user in responsible ways
  • Making people more aware of their personal data and how it is used
Students identified ways in which their own research can contribute:
  • Smart home environments and privacy – understanding what it means to individuals and groups of people e.g. families. Different components and cultural aspects need to be taken into consideration.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – develop algorithms which are fast and smart
  • Looking at risk management and methods to make IoT more secure – making the most of the data and analytics currently collected
A tour around the "Network Operations Centre" provided Tommy Flowers Institute members the amazing opportunity to view the heart of BT’s operations and discussing the security of the centre.
BT Research & Innovation’s Head of University Research, Fraser Burton said, "Over the first year, the Institute has gone from strength to strength, with growing involvement across academia, industry and government. As the pace of change in the digital economy increases, we are increasingly using autonomic systems to support our decision-making and we need to ensure our future research leaders create and understand the powerful new tools that are now possible.
We look forward to an even more exciting second year, growing the capability of the ICT industry for the benefit of the whole of the UK".