National Cyber Deception Laboratory helps MoD take fight to network attackers

Cranfield University and the Defence Cyber School at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham are working together to develop a national focal point for cyber deception and help the Ministry of Defence (MoD) better defend networks in cyber space. The National Cyber Deception Laboratory (NCDL) aims to bring together practitioners and researchers from across Government, academia and industry to facilitate research and provide guidance in the context of national security.

Cyber deception is likely to be one of the most significant growth areas in cyber security over the coming years. The evolution of the field within the UK military will allow network defenders to take a proactive approach by using military deception tradecraft to effectively defend against and manipulate the activities of attackers operating within their networks. This may involve confusing the enemy into taking steps that might expose their identity or sabotaging their attacks.

Darren Lawrence, director of the NCDL, senior lecturer in behavioural science and head of the Information Operations Group at Cranfield University, said: “Military networks need a full spectrum military defence. Existing civilian security approaches are simply not up to this task. Deception is all about creating errors in how our adversaries make sense of their world. It’s about enticing them to act in ways that suit our purposes, not theirs.”

Lawrence went on to state: “We’re delighted to be working with the Defence Cyber School on this initiative. Researching ways to shape attacker behaviour and deny them the freedom to operate within our networks will enable military cyber defence to move on to a more aggressive footing and deter future attacks.”

The NCDL will seek to deliver innovative and novel approaches to the development of cyber deception capabilities by connecting individuals and organisations across multiple sectors.

Air Commodore Tim Neal-Hopes OBE, head of the MoD’s C4ISR and Cyber Jt User, said: “We live in a period of constant contest. A period where the UK is attacked through cyber space on a daily basis. If it’ss to maintain operational effectiveness, defence must therefore protect its information, networks and cyber-dependent capabilities against these perpetual attacks.”

Neal-Hope added: “Cyber deception is a crucial element of cyber defence. I’m therefore delighted to champion the creation of the National Cyber Deception Laboratory as part of that collective effort, and look forward to bringing the full force of the NCDL to help the MoD and its aliies operate securely in the information age.”

The NCDL was launched at the first National Cyber Deception Symposium held on 6 November.

*For more information about participating in or supporting NCDL activities contact info@cyberdeception.org.uk

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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