PETRAS Internal Strategic Projects & Engagements Fund (ISPEF)
Integrity Checking at the Edge (ICE) for Operational Decision Support (ICE-ODS)
This project will integrate the outcomes of the PETRAS-funded “Integrity Checking at the Edge (ICE)” project, into a prototype operational decision support mechanism at Thales UK. Thales offers an end-to-end Autonomous Logistics Supply that combines an intuitive digital twin interface, unmanned command and control system, and an autonomous, all terrain Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) system, with its own networked communications systems. UGVs are vital for supporting humanitarian rescue and relief efforts in unsafe environments – for example in regions of natural disaster or conflict settings.
However, UGVs and their communication systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks which could disrupt such missions. Most existing cyber attack detection systems only flag the presence of an attack. The current ICE project is working with Thales to understand not only when and how an attack is occurring, but to support making decisions such as when and how to act to ensure the continuity of the mission. This is vital as such missions are not as simple as stopping communication, or turning the devices off during attack – everything must keep operating, and human interaction in the most strategic and minimal impact way is key. A key outcome of the current ICE project is a visual and interactive method to “dig into” data collected from edge networks – to flag anomalies and potential cyber attacks – and to enable security operations analysts to collaborate with business continuity teams in a way that enables cyber attacks to be responded to while taking into account the impact of any incident response decisions on the wider system. This is unusual, especially in operational technology settings where the focus is on the safety of the system. The aims of this project are:
- To co-create a practical and impactful toolkit with Thales that translates the outcomes of the ICE project into a living, breathing context that has major life-critical safety and cybersecurity implications. Thales supports integration through access to real UGV testbeds and leading workshops with CU to capture insider knowledge on possible responses to cyber threats.
- To validate the outcomes of the ICE project in a real-world setting and gain end-user feedback in a real-world scenario.
- To create a permanent showcase demonstrator of the outcomes of PETRAS-funded research at a major private sector R&I investment location – Thales Ebbw Vale.
- To identify and mitigate vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks within the showcase demonstrator, thereby ensuring that the demonstrator represents a benchmark testbed for cyber risk visualisation and assessment.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom.
PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity is a consortium of eleven leading UK universities which will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.
Thales Group is a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets. Thales has established a new National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Blaenau Gwent.