Monash University leads cybersecurity into the breach

23 February 2018

Cyber Security

As our digital world advances, cyber risks shadow, jeopardising the operation of just about every organisation in just about every sector. From healthcare to energy to agriculture. At Monash, through our interdisciplinary research projects and industry-linked courses, we intend to combat this danger.

“Cybersecurity is one of Monash’s great strengths,” says Associate Professor Carsten Rudolph of the Faculty of Information Technology. “We can help hospitals better secure patient records, energy networks defend cyberattacks, and farmers keep data on food safety and storage. And our teaching programs are developing the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.”

The word is out. Researchers and students across disciplines gravitate to our facilities, where they can sit at the forefront of cyber trends. And collaborations with government and industry thrive. You’ll find in our New Horizons Building, for example, the Grid Innovation Hub – a research, training and teaching platform for digital energy. Within its state-of-the-art environment, the Hub features a future electricity network control room simulator.

“Cybersecurity plays a critical role in digital energy,” says Rudolph. “Our researchers are collaborating with their peers in engineering on how to better protect the data behind energy-grid networks.”

In another space, researchers Dr Joseph Liu of Monash and Dr Allen Au of Hong Kong Polytechnic University work in partnership with asset manager Collinstar Capital. They hope to establish the cryptocurrency Hcash as a connecting point for all existing blockchain systems (decentralised digital ledgers). In this way, Hcash could function as a virtual cryptocurrency exchange, enabling secure transactions between different cryptocurrencies.

“Hcash is a more advanced technology than bitcoin,” says Dr Liu. “Unlike bitcoin, the algorithms behind Hcash will not need to be replaced when there are quantum computers. Hcash is essentially about preparing blockchain technology for the future.”

In collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) logistics researchers, Liu also seeks to apply blockchain technology to food security. “UTS has experts in logistics and Monash has skills in blockchain,” he explains. “The opportunity is to develop a blockchain-powered, Internet-of-Things logistics system that protects data on Australian beef or dairy exported to Asia.”

The cybersecurity success of Monash stems from both theoretical and applied research. “Monash has a unique combination of strong theoretical skills in aspects of cybersecurity and an ability to understand industry problems and apply the theory to cybersecurity, innovation and commercialisation,” says Rudolph.

With so much a stake, we’re determined to discover new defenses against cyberattacks. As a leader in data protection, we see this as our duty.

Categories

Information Technology