NUS launches National Cybersecurity R&D Lab

NUS launches National Cybersecurity R&D Lab

Following the launch of the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Research and Development Laboratory in October 2016 and Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s (CSA) MOU with NYP & SIT in November 2016, NUS yesterday launched the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), a national shared infrastructure that provides a realistic environment for cybersecurity research and test-bedding of innovative solutions against cyber threats.

Hosted at the NUS School of Computing, the S$8.4 million NCL is supported by the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme at the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore. This Whole-of-Government programme seeks to develop R&D expertise and capabilities in cybersecurity for Singapore. It aims to improve the trustworthiness of cyber infrastructures with an emphasis on security, reliability, resiliency and usability.

NCL was officially launched by Permanent Secretary (Communications and Information) Mr Gabriel Lim at the opening of the 2nd Singapore Cyber Security R&D Conference held at NUS.

Ready-to-use tools and realistic environment for cybersecurity research

The NCL seeks to provide users with a wide range of ready-to-use tools for cybersecurity testing in repeatable and predictable experimentation environments, as well as useful datasets that researchers can utilise to conduct and validate their ideas and cybersecurity solutions. In addition, the NCL serves as a synergistic platform for cybersecurity researchers, both locally and internationally, to collaborate on research projects and share data, resources and knowledge. The NCL’s facilities will also be used for education purposes, such as providing hands-on training for students and industry experts on system vulnerabilities.

Jointly led by Associate Professor Chang Ee-Chien, Associate Professor Liang Zhenkai and Dr Guo Charng Rang from the Department of Computer Science at the NUS School of Computing, the NCL will promote the development of cybersecurity solutions in a number of key areas. These areas include research involving large-scale experimentation and validation (such as studies on distributed denial of service attacks where large number of computers are compromised), investigations requiring vulnerable environments (such as binary analysis to enhance software security), and research that requires collaborative efforts amongst multiple researchers (such as data analytics projects involving multiple parties using shared data).

To-date, research institutions and industry players are leveraging NCL’s shared infrastructure to develop solutions for about 20 projects spanning software security improvements, cloud data storage safeguards, and the study of urban transport systems security. The lab is capable of simulating more than a thousand computers to perform tasks such as emulating large-scale malicious cyber attacks. It also houses a large collection of malwares for research and education purposes. NCL aims to enhance its capabilities by expanding the current test-bed capacity by three folds by the end of 2017.

Professor Mohan Kankanhalli, Dean of the NUS School of Computing, said, “Cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly complex and multi-faceted. It is therefore crucial to safeguard our infrastructure, networks and data as we strive towards building a Smart Nation. The National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory provides a ready-to-use, large-scale platform on which cybersecurity technologies and solutions can be simulated and tested in realistic environments. This would otherwise be very costly and challenging to achieve. We are confident that the NCL will foster greater collaboration between industry and academia, and catalyse the development of cutting edge cybersecurity solutions.”

Mr George Loh, Director (Programmes) of NRF and Co-Chair of the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme Committee, said,

“The National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory is an important shared national facility that will bring together a user community including leading researchers, agency partners and industry cybersecurity practitioners to conduct large-scale, multi-disciplinary and inter-agency experimentation. The facility enables experiments that are complex, scalable and relevant to Singapore to be demonstrated in a reliable test bed. This will facilitate innovation and translation of the R&D capabilities in Singapore into solutions that can be deployed globally, helping to strengthen Singapore's position as a cybersecurity R&D hub.”

Read the full press release here