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Universities Awarded Grant for Smart Device and Cyber-security Research

Four UK universities have received new grant funding for exploring cyber-security issues related to smart home devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). The research will have a focus on how consumers can be warned about potential risks.

The venture is called ‘PrivIoT’ and will be led by the Northumbria University Computer and Information Sciences department. Other universities participating in the project will include Royal Holloway, Manchester and Nottingham universities. The PrivIoT project was first announced on 13th July 2021 and the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence is providing the grant.

The four universities will work together on PrivIoT with the goal of developing a greater understanding of potential privacy and cyber-security issues related to IoT, smart homes and smart energy devices. The project will also research the possibility of finding means for users to gain control over their cyber-security.

As part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the government has been encouraging homes and businesses to install smart meters. However, the idea of using these devices has raised cyber-security concerns, including devices being hijacked and households being monitored.

With these concerns in mind, the universities will be tasked with understanding the level of risk that users may be exposed to. Once researchers are more informed on the subject, it will also be up to them to develop strategies for informing users.

One of the primary goals of PrivIoT is to allow the government and users to be aware of potential cyber-threats before the devices in question are widely used. It’s not uncommon for IoT projects to already have many users before potential cyber-risks are realised.

The first phase of research, which focuses on study analysis and data collection, has already begun. Hired researchers will participate in the study to help with data collection. In addition, organisations including Toshiba, OTASKI Energy Solutions and CybSafe will also play a role in PrivIoT.

The project is expected to last approximately 18 months.

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