Cyber Security Research Unit (CSRU)

The Cyber Security Research unit conducts research into cyber-security and digital forensics, with particular focus on complex systems of systems, applying AI (Human Immune Systems and Machine Learning) into cyber security domain, app security, context-aware systems and security, small devices, including but not limited Industrial Control Systems and IoT applications as well as smart devices and sensor networks.Our aims are to:

  • Optimise cyber-security in complex systems including but not limited to Industrial Control Systems and Industrial IoT applications..
  • Improve cyber-security in mobile devices.
  • Research on cyber-threat detection and visualisation mechanisms.

The objectives of the group are to:

  • Establish a network of researchers through inter- and intra-institutional collaborations on UK and EU research proposals.
  • Disseminate the conducted research through publications in top conferences and journals in related areas.
  • Increase the group’s reputation through the organisation of conferences and workshops.
  • Provide support for PhD students in Cyber-security.

Unit Members

Dr Abdullahi Arabo – Unit Leader
Dr Panagiotis Andriotis
Ian Johnson
Dr Phil Legg
Dr Shancang Li
Dr Emmanuel Ogunshile
Dr Elias Pimenidis
Dr Theo Spyridopoulos
Dr Essam Ghadafi

Current News

National Conference for Learning and Teaching in Cyber Security

Dr A Arabo

Isaac Lau final year (2017) BSc (Hon) Forensic and Security got the prize for the best student presentation for his final year project title: “Android lock screen application to improve pattern based security” at the National Conference for Learning and Teaching in Cyber Security in hosted by Liverpool John Moores University.

Image: Dr Arabo collecting the prize on behalf of Isaac Lau.

UWE Bristol students win the Capture the Flag competition


CSRU team of students (Alan Mills - year 1, Alex Donose - year 2, Barry Gallivan - year 2, Curtis Adams - year 2 and Patrick McGrath - year 2) got the fourth place (among 16 teams) at the Capture the Flag competition which was organised by Cyber Security Challenge UK, doing better then some Russell group universities like Oxford.

Recent Projects

Spam Detection in Social Media using Message Propagation Dynamics
PI Dr Panagiotis Andriotis

Start date: 13 March 2017

Duration: 5 months

Funding body: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Short Term Award for Post-Doctoral Researchers
Social media prevails in modern societies as billions of users produce and disseminate digital content every day. Unsurprisingly, malicious actors use the dynamic proliferation of online social networks to achieve their goals. Hence, the necessity to identify such malevolent behaviour is apparent.

This research project aims to investigate if spam detection on social media can be effectively achieved using semantic information derived from the content of short messages in platforms such as Twitter.

We intend to use topic modelling (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) to obtain semantic information from users’ posts and create mappings of their interests, in order to identify how spam messages propagate in the network.

The Provision of a Work Package for the Digital Crime Scene Forensics Review
PI Dr Shancang Li Andriotis

Proposed dates: 3 April 2017 - 9 June 2017 (2 months)

Funder: Centre for Applied Science and Technologies Home Office

This project aims at investigating the digital forensics technologies in the Internet of Things (IoT) from following three levels:
(1) device level, include IoT device authentication, authorization, device access control, etc.;
(2) Network level, including device identification in the IoT, data preservation, secure protocols, etc.;
(3) IoT applications/service level, including digital evidence analysis in the IoT ecosystem.

App Collision and Its Cybersecurity Implications Award Body – UWE VC Early Career award
PI Dr Abdullahi Arabo

The investigation will profoundly change the perspectives of users’ adaptation of security issues within the app market. It will inform relevant organisations such as the NHS, retailers, and users alike of the possibility and dangers of malicious apps and the possibility of these apps colluding to build personal portfolio of users.

The aim of the project is to investigate new techniques to detect colluding apps and will inform the user and try to curtail the threat before it becomes widespread.

It will highlight the business value and implications of security issues in relation to app collision and cybersecurity.

The study will include research survey articles and detailed conference paper.

Research and Proof of Concept (PoC) investigation into new techniques to detect colluding mobile apps (including SDKs) on the Android platform that leak both PII and sensitive information.

Highlight business value and implications of security issues and indicators related to app collusion and cyber security for banking industry, consumers, business, enterprise and government.

Brightpearl – Cloud Security Framework Award Body –Innovation 4 Growth
PI Dr Abdullahi Arabo

The project provides collaboration with Brightpearl to support the development of their Application Program Interface. This will contribute to the “Agile” development of this platform, contributing cyber security and cryptography expertise and embedding it within the team at Brightpearl to support their continued product innovation.

The proposed project adds major value to Brightpearl by creating a secure and robust Brightpearl software platform to enable applications created by third parties to access the value of the core Brightpearl services. Brightpearl today is 'driven' by our customers from their web browsers, creating a Brightpearl platform will enable innovation and extension of Brightpearl by an ecosystem of third parties who can add value for current and new customers faster than we can, and in ways we haven't yet thought of. This will unlock the value that exists in the databases we operate for each of our customers’ businesses, and the value in the Brightpearl core services.

Applications will access the Brightpearl Platform via a public Application Program Interface (API).

NFC Transactions Bypassing the Secure Element
Award Body – TSB
PI Dr Abdullahi Arabo

The proposed project targets investigation of possibilities and barriers in developing a feasible end-to-end NFC smartphone-based travel product while not utilising an embedded Secure Element.

The project is TSB funded in collaboration with Touché NFC Ltd with main sub-contractors Fenbrook consulting (FC) Near Field Solutions Ltd (NFS) and the University of the West of England (UWE).

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