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Exeter cyber security experts working with international community

17 June 2022

3 minutes to read

Exeter cyber security experts working with international community

Experts in cyber law from the University of Exeter are delivering research into the challenges posed by modern technology for the international community.

Enabling a decisive response to malicious cyber operations

Dr Kubo Mačák, an Associate Professor at the Law School, led the ESRC-funded project on International Cyber Law in Practice – developing a toolkit for policymakers and politicians on how to use international cyber law. Responding to malicious cyber operations – which have the capacity to cripple critical national infrastructure and paralyse public institutions – the toolkit aimed to develop expertise among the legal advisors and decision-makers who are tasked with responding efficiently to such challenges.

At 2018’s International Conference on Cyber Conflict, Dr Kubo Mačák led a pilot workshop for the project, identifying the specific, practical challenges related to international law and cyber security that legal advisors and decision-makers face and, thus, bridging the gap between academia and practice. Attendees included representatives of NATO, the US Cyber Command, the Israeli Ministry of Justice, and the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency. The output of the workshop formed the basis for development of the project’s interactive toolkit.

Find out more about ‘International Cyber Law in Practice’ here.

University of Exeter’s commitment to supporting cyber security

The University of Exeter was one of the original signatories of the ‘Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace’, a pledge to work collaboratively to support an open, secure and peaceful cyberspace launched at the UNESCO Internet Governance Forum.

Joining forces with governments and technology giants around the world, the University expressed its commitment to:

  • preventing malicious cyber activities
  • protecting the general availability and integrity of the internet
  • cooperating to prevent malign interferences in electoral processes
  • working together against ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property
  • preventing the proliferation of malicious tools and techniques
  • increasing the security of ICT products and services.

Since the signatory was signed, researchers at the University of Exeter have addressed these issues using a range of different approaches. Dr Ana Beduschi has investigated the use of ‘big data’ to address refugee crises and evaluated the human rights implications of digital health passports. Dr Naomi Hawkins and Dr Kubo Mačák have researched how our Earth-bound laws apply to military operations in outer space. A group of cyber security experts, led by Professor Achim Brucker, are focusing their research on building secure, safe, privacy-preserving, reliable, and trustworthy systems.

Building cyber systems that are secure and safe ‘by design’

The latter group computer scientists – at the Security and Trust in Advanced Systems group – are currently focused on building systems that are secure and safe “by design” – while developing approaches to analyse the security or safety of advanced systems, including distributed systems (e.g. using Blockchain), autonomous systems, cyber-physical systems, automated control systems, or systems using ML or AI.

The expertise of the group ranges from formal verification to more applied approaches using, e.g., static program analysis or dynamic testing. The group has expertise in the security of large enterprise systems, ranging from secure business process-driven systems to model-driven security to advanced access control systems.

The research group is embedded in a strong cyber environment within and outside of the University. Within the University, cyber security is not only rooted within the Computer Science Department (e.g., working in the intersection of data science and cybersecurity, an area in which we also offer an MSc in Cyber Security Analytics), but works across disciplines to tackle today’s cyber security challenges.

The group works closely with experts in the Law School, the Strategy and Security Institute, and the Business School, on the MSc in Financial Technology. Outside of the university, the group is actively engaged with the industry, via the South West Cyber Security Cluster.

Find out more about the Security and Trust in Advanced Systems group here.


Security and Resilience: Our Expertise

At the University of Exeter, we use impactful research and education to tackle fundamental security challenges – in areas such as global security strategy, energy resilience, and cyber security.

We’re now developing the next generation of scientists, policy makers and systems thinkers, with a dedicated team who can connect you with world-leading research and global networks, for real-world impact.

Contact Josie Butcher or Colette Defoe to find out more.



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