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New Cybersecurity Centre Opens in Cardiff


Cybercrime costs the UK several billion pounds per year. Indeed, a recent government report showed that 46% of all businesses identified at least one cyber attack in the last year, with 74% of directors regarding cyber security as a high priority issue for them.

What’s more, a recent study found that organizations have a significant blindspot when it comes to cyber security.  The study found that when organizations are attacked by hackers, the length of time taken to recover, and the resources required to do so, leave them vulnerable to subsequent attacks. The authors suggest this blind spot is the interval between the recovery from the first incident, and the subsequent incident.

The author examined data from the VERIS database, which records incidents of cyber attack across a range of industries and different organizational sizes.

“Cyber attacks and data breaches are becoming more and more frequent and most companies will have plans for counterattack in place,” the authors say.  “However, the problem arises when you look into organisations’ recovery times. If a company takes a month to recover from a cyber attack, but the next incident is a week away, there is a real risk that the subsequent attack can’t be tackled because recovery resources will have been deployed to handle the first attack.”

Cutting edge

It is perhaps not surprising therefore that there is growing interest in the field.  The latest project comes in the form of a new research center setup by Cardiff University in partnership with Airbus.

The facility, which will be known as the The Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics, is believed to be the first facility of its kind in Europe.  It will bring together expertise from across both the university and Airbus to study areas ranging from machine learning to data analytics, with the goal being to make digital systems more secure and robust.

“Cyber security analytics is about improving our resilience to cyber-attacks through data modelling to detect and block malicious behaviour before it causes its full impact; but also about understanding what motivates the behaviour, what its likely impact will be, and how to communicate security alerts among decision and policy-makers,” the university said.

Collaborative approach

The center is part of a wider range of initiatives that see companies working closely with academia.  For instance, earlier this year saw the Leidos sponsored InterACE challenge that saw the brightest cyber talent from across the UK compete on their CyberNEXS platform.

The partnership between Cardiff and Airbus will also involve a strong talent management relationship, both in terms of sharing knowledge but also potentially secondments and industrial placements for researchers and students.

“Collaborating with leading Universities such as Cardiff to research and develop sophisticated machine learning and data analytics for attack detection is a key approach in the future protection of critical systems.  The launch of the Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics is an enabler for the rapid transfer of research into operational activities and ensures that researchers are able to access the latest techniques and data, and in addition are supported by Airbus experts,” Airbus said.