UK supports UNSW cybersecurity research acceleration

The UK government will support UNSW Sydney researchers to advance their cutting-edge cybersecurity technology, which protects critical IT systems from cyberattacks.

The UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) will fund UNSW Engineering’s Trusted Systems Research Group to spur the development of its seL4 microkernel technology – the world’s most advanced cybersecurity technology .

Scientia Professor Gernot Heiser, leader of the Trustworthy Systems team that invented the technology, said the NCSC had been evaluating seL4 for some time and working with defense industry partners to deploy it in computer systems. real.

As well as being used in many civilian applications, the seL4 is already in use by the UK government and in other countries,” said Professor Heiser.

“The NCSC is funding us to accelerate the ability to apply and deploy seL4 on more complex computing systems, in addition to the embedded devices we’ve been targeting so far.”

Trustworthy Systems’ pioneering seL4 technology, when integrated into the core of a computer’s operating system, provides rock-solid isolation between computer programs, preventing one affected component from compromising others.

Scientia Professor Gernot Heiser leads the Trustworthy Systems team that invented the seL4 microkernel technology. Photo: UNSW Sydney

In another show of trust in the technology, NCSC also joined the sel4 foundation this year, which was established by Trustworthy Systems in 2020 to lead and coordinate the standardized development of open source seL4 technologies. Professor Heiser is President of the seL4 Foundation.

In a statement, the NCSC said funding from UNSW to undertake this project will significantly increase the future capabilities, performance and assurance of seL4 on a wide range of modern processors and systems. They said its development plays an important role in the next generation of high-assurance devices.

Professor Heiser said governments and organizations around the world can benefit from the seL4 microkernel to protect a wide range of critical systems and infrastructure.

“Everything we do is open-source, which means it’s freely available to everyone, including NCSC-funded work. The whole seL4 community will benefit,” he said.

The Trustworthy Systems Group is also undertaking research with the United Arab Emirates and Swiss technology company Neutrality, among others, to deploy the seL4 microkernel in specific applications, including mobile phones, drones, Internet of Things devices and the Internet of Things. protection of humanitarian organizations against cyberattacks.

Professor Heiser said he was delighted to have international support for his research and use in real-world systems. “This accelerates technology and will enable the strongest possible cybersecurity for our critical infrastructure and organizations large and small.”

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