RISCS Phase 2

The second phase of the Research Institute for the Science of Cyber Security (RISCS2) was launched in August 2016 and will run over five years. Community coordination is funded by EPSRC, contingent upon RISCS raising another £5 million over its lifetime. About half of that will come from GCHQ, the other half from externally funded projects. The first of these is the evidence-based, TIPS-funded Detecting and Preventing Mass-Marketing Fraud (DAPM), a project on preventing mass-market fraud led by Professor Monica Whitty (Warwick). Also counting towards RISCS’ required funding is the TIPS Fellowship awarded to RISCS deputy director, Royal Holloway Professor Lizzie Coles-Kemp.

RISCS2 will have three annual community meetings plus an academic conference shared with its siblings, the Research Institute in Automated Program Analysis and Verification (RIAPAV), led by Philippa Gardner (Imperial), and the Research Institute in Trustworthy Industrial Control Systems (RITICS), led by Chris Hankin (Imperial).

Alongside the advisory board, two new panels will help guide RISCS2. The practitioners panel, to be led by Royal Holloway senior lecturer Dr Geraint Price, will draw members from people dealing with real problems inside organisations. Panel members will commit to attending meetings for at least a year to advise on how best to communicate results to practitioners and suggest research problems and questions, as well as advise what works and what doesn’t.

The knowledge exchange panel, led by Coles-Kemp, will work to make collaboration with members of other disciplines systematic. One of this panel’s first tasks will be to help translate between disciplines that use similar language but assign to it different meanings.

RISCS2 will broaden its scope from large organisations to include citizens, consumers, SMEs, charities, and communities. This is in line with other research, such as the July 2016 report from the Royal Society, which stressed that security cannot be viewed in isolation but must be considered as part of a construct that includes trust, trustworthiness, and privacy. Similarly, the government’s strategy is to broaden from national security and information assurance to supporting a resilient digital society as attacks increase in range, frequency, and sophistication. The CyberStreetwise team is also interested in taking new directions and collaborating, and the goal is to build a consortium with an increasing number of government and industrial organisations that speaks with one voice regarding security education.

GCHQ’s funding will cover both long-term and short-term (“task forces”) projects. The latter won’t necessarily be hands-on research; it may be delivering an authoritative statement in areas with conflicting evidence.

Finally, RISCS2 welcomes investment from companies funded under GCHQ’s CyberInvest scheme. Evidence-based research requires data, access, and testbeds, and Sasse believes RISCS’s track record shows it can be trusted. Its researchers have worked with some companies for as long as seven years and been able to publish the results without giving away sensitive information.

View the RISCS Phase 2 Projects