Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) are teaming up to find new ways to fight advanced cyberthreats, using the human body fight against bacteria as a model.
The aim of this joint research project, called the Bio-Inspired Agile Cyber Security Assurance Framework (BICSAF), is to develop innovative technologies for tackling Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
APTs are stealthy and continuous computer hacking processes run by individuals who target specific entities, such as private organisations and state agencies. Their long periods of covertness make it difficult to detect such threats with current technology.
NTU chief of staff and vice president (Research) Prof. Lam Khin Yong and BGU vice president and dean (Research & Development) Prof. Dan Blumberg signed the joint research agreement at the CyberTech Conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Led by the Cyber Security Research Centre at NTU, faculty and researchers from both universities will be involved. In developing new technologies to counter cyberthreats, the two partners aim to take inspiration from the human body: just as the human body’s immune system adapts to and fights ever evolving bacteria and viruses, so the teams will seek for similar cybersecurity solutions.
“The collaboration between NTU and BGU will explore novel ideas to develop cyber-immune technologies to fight external adversaries that launch cyberattacks on our critical systems, much like how our biological immune system works,” said George Loh, director of Programmes at NRF and Co-Chair of the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme Committee.
NTU has invested heavily in its cybersecurity expertise in recent years, including a S$2.5 million partnership last year with BAE Systems to jointly develop next-generation cybersecurity solutions, the universities said in a statement on Wednesday.
BGU has expertise in cybersecurity research and is at the heart of efforts to turn Beersheba, in the south of Israel into a national and international cyber hub.
“Through this partnership, NTU and BGU will be able to develop innovative methods for combating one of the most complicated problems in cyber security – APTs,” said Lam Khin Yong. “This project will leverage NTU’s strong hardware-based research expertise and BGU’s software-based core competencies to combat this intractable problem.”
“BGU and NTU recognize the grave necessity of stopping APTs,” said BGU’s Blumberg, and the two universities “have allocated significant funding over two years to develop early detection methods.”
The Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering at BGU is the largest in Israel. BGU also set up the Cyber Security Research Center with the Israel National Cyber Bureau to identify risks while protecting critical national infrastructure.