Masdar ties up with MIT for research on cyber security

The ultimate objective of the study is to ensure better cyber security on critical infrastructure sites in the UAE and globally.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2015, 1:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

Masdar Institute and MIT students will undertake research involving Abu Dhabi’s power system. — Supplied photo

Abu Ddhabi - The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has recently collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to advance cyber security research in the UAE.

The ultimate objective of the study is to ensure better cyber security on critical infrastructure sites in the UAE and globally, by using an innovative approach to assess potential vulnerabilities against cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure.

Using Abu Dhabi’s power system as a case study, the research will undertake a multi-layered methodology, which will ensure the development of a knowledge map of the power system and its shortcomings.

“Through Masdar Institute’s ongoing research efforts, greater emphasis is being placed on the protection of critical infrastructure sites by enhancing cyber security. The collaboration with MIT will also help to identify competency gaps, generate critical mass between the faculty and develop human capital in the niche area of cyber security,” said Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, president, Masdar Institute.

The collaboration will see Masdar Institute and MIT undertake research involving Abu Dhabi’s power system and will focus on using a novel and comprehensive approach to identify and assess the different sources of cyber gaps in a critical infrastructure system.

The research will also investigate the significance of each of these challenges to the integrity of the physical system. This collaboration is a project of the MIT Technology and Development Programme.

“Our research aims to contribute to the development of cyber security as an emerging field of scientific inquiry. To date, there have been few robust scientific investigations that provide comprehensive evidence on the sources and consequences of cyber security. The over-arching goal of the project is to analyse and define the science behind cyber security in an effort to provide substantial and concrete scientific data related to the weaknesses of critical infrastructure and how to better protect them,” said Dr. Sameh El Khatib, assistant professor at Masdar Institute’s Department of Engineering Systems and Management, and one of the principal investigators of the project.

The project is due to run for two years. At the end of this two year period, it is hoped that data from the comprehensive analysis of Abu Dhabi’s power system could be compared against data from the projects running concurrently in New York and Singapore to develop a comprehensive knowledge map, capable of being applied to critical infrastructure worldwide.

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