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New cyber deception lab helps MOD take the fight to network attackers

November 2019 by Marc Jacob

Cranfield University and the Defence Cyber School at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham, are working together to develop a national focal point for cyber deception and help the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) better defend their networks in cyberspace.

The National Cyber Deception Laboratory (NCDL) aims to bring together practitioners and researchers 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 cybersecurity 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 is about getting them to act in ways that suit our purposes, not theirs.

“We are 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 MoD C4ISR and Cyber Jt User, said: “We live in a period of constant contest. A period where the UK is attacked through cyberspace on a daily basis. Defence, if it is to maintain operational effectiveness, must therefore defend its information, networks and cyber-dependent capabilities, against these perpetual attacks.

“Cyber Deception is a crucial element of cyber defence and I am therefore delighted to champion the creation of the National Cyber Deception Laboratory (NCDL) as part of that collective effort, and look forward to bringing the full force of the NCDL to help the UK MOD, and her allies, operate securely in the information age.”

The NCDL was launched at the first National Cyber Deception Symposium on 6 November. For more information about participating in or supporting NCDL activities, please contact info@cyberdeception.org.uk.




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