Local researchers identify ways to manage and monitor cyberattacks and zombies against IoT devices

Local researchers identify ways to manage and monitor cyberattacks and zombies against IoT devices

A joint research project between Newcastle-based IT company, Strategic Group and The University of Newcastle (UoN) is tackling the risk of cyberattacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

IoT devices are becoming increasingly used in various applications, ranging from home use to critical national infrastructure.

A compromised device, such as a smart home or commercial system, can act as a zombie, intensifying the scale of a cyberattack on other devices on the same network. This poses a significant risk to businesses and in homes.

Researchers have found a Secure Smart Device Provisioning and Monitoring Service Architecture (SDPM) for improved security and management of rogue devices that can improve monitoring and maintenance of a business’ fleet of IoT devices.

Last year, self-reported financial losses due to cybercrime in Australia was reported by individuals to be more than $33 billion. Introducing a new architecture to manage IoT devices will help reduce risk and costs to individuals, businesses, and the economy.

The joint research project, supported by an Innovations Connections grant from the Australian Government’s Entrepreneur Programme, began in early 2020 and ran for over 12 months. The report was released this month and is titled SDPM: A Secure Smart Device Provisioning and Monitoring Service Architecture for Smart Network Infrastructure.

Strategic Group was assisted by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources – Innovation Connections Programme which is delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The Innovation Connections Programme assists companies connect and engage with publicly funded research organisations, and for the Strategic Group this Programme facilitated a connection with The University of Newcastle to work on the project.

The local Innovation Connections Facilitator Dave Fleming assisted with an introduction to UoN which had the local facilities and expertise to assist with the project and work with Strategic Group.

“The University of Newcastle has a world-recognised School of Electrical Engineering and Computing with extensive facilities, knowledge and expertise in the area of cyber security and IT as well as producing high quality graduates,” Dave said.

“It was an excellent opportunity for Strategic Group to bring their industry knowledge of cyber security to the School and use the world-class facilities and expertise to assist with the development of a new customer focussed solution.”

Strategic Group’s Director of Business Development, Aron Robertson said they were grateful the Federal Government’s Innovation Connections Programme and CSIRO in facilitating the connection to key researchers at UoN after they identified an opportunity for improved cyber security architecture to manage threats to IoT devices.

“We were grateful to be working with the University of Newcastle and having access to their world class facilities gave our team access to research and development technologies that we would not normally have,” Aron said.

Internal Programmes Manager from Strategic Group, Peter Speirs worked part-time at the University, in conjunction with the Global Innovation Chair in Cyber Security, Professor Vijay Varadharajan; Senior Lecturer in the School of Information and Physical Sciences (Information Technology), Dr Rukshan Athauda; and Research Fellow in the College of Engineering, Science and Environment, Mr Kallol Krishna Karmakar to facilitate the project.

“Part of our work at Strategic Group is finding a way to make IT solutions easy and hassle-free for our clients. To be able to conduct research into a product which can offer the wider   business community a safe and secure way to manage a range of different IoT devices and third-party software has been extremely exciting for our team,” Aron concluded.


IMAGE | Aron Robertson, Kallol Krishna Karmakar, and Peter Spiers with some IoT devices.

Strategic Group

Strategic Group is an IT company dedicated to providing a better way for businesses across Australia.

More than just a simple break-fix provider, Strategic Group creates true partnerships to better understand and develop relevant IT solutions to support and achieve goals.

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