Expertise

jigsaw

UCL focuses on delivering solutions in key areas:

If computers are embedded everywhere, so is the security risk.

The importance of information security is increasing exponentially.

Problem
Mobile phones, cars, smoke alarms, refrigerators and MP3 players: today’s world is already permeated by embedded computer systems – special purpose computers that are used within a device. As computers become embedded in and networked between ever-increasing numbers of electronic devices, we become increasingly vulnerable to attacks on the security of business data and private material alike.

A survey for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit found that in 2004 the total estimated minimum cost of the impact of hi-tech crime on UK-based companies with over 1,000 employees was £2.45 billion, with 97 per cent of companies reporting virus attacks and 89 per cent suffering theft of information or data.

Expertise
UCL’s Adastral Park was established three years ago with funding of £3 million from BT, and has since received £2 million from the East of England Development Agency. Part of UCL’s top-rated Department of Computer Science, the primary research focus of Adastral Park is information security, with experts from computer science, engineering and telecommunications working on a broad range of subjects, including biometric identification, smart cards, cryptography, digital rights management, network protocols and data forensics. 

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Infrastructure Security

But who’s watching the screens?

The sheer scale and accessibility of transport make it uniquely vulnerable.

Problem

As a target for terrorist attacks and the means of introducing chemical, biological and nuclear threats into major cities, unmonitored transport poses a risk to national security. Effective strategies are needed to avert potential disaster in transportation systems such as rail networks, transport infrastructures including airports and station, and vehicles such as passenger ferries.

It is the volume and necessary speed of passenger flows which make transport particularly difficult to defend from terrorist or criminal attacks. Technology is a vital tool, at its most effective when it dovetails with the strengths and limitations of security personnel.

Expertise

Transport security expertise at UCL involves academics from the Bartlett School, on the architecture planning of transport infrastructures, scientists from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, planning and modelling security factors in vehicle design, and experts from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Geomatic Engineering, focusing on the logistics of movement and the security of individuals within transport systems.

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How do you cope when the security threat is miniscule?

The challenge of preventing chemical, biological and radiological attack.

Problem
The swift detection of harmful substances is crucial to our security. Preventing terrorist attacks is high on the agenda of countries across the world, and all large cities are at risk of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

The efficient detection of smuggled weapons and explosives is another area of major concern for governments and citizens. Ten million pieces of baggage pass through Heathrow airport alone every year, with just two seconds to assess each piece of luggage as safe to trave.

Expertise
Creating materials and systems through the manipulation of individual atoms which provide a basis for the development of biosensors and radiation sensors is a key area of research at UCL’s Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering and London Centre of Nanotechnology. Experts in the Department of Medical Physics & Bioengineering are exploring the potential application of X-ray and other imaging devices for security purposes.

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A blueprint for tackling crime

Crime is not intractable. It can be planned for and built out.

Problem
Crime is at the centre of every election manifesto as one of the public’s most pressing concerns. At an estimated annual cost of £60 billion – or £1,000 for every man, woman and child in the UK – crime destroys private and public property, and mounts up costs for the criminal justice system, the health service, business and industry, and individuals.

Crime and Terror

Expertise


UCL’s Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science (JDI) is the first institute in the world devoted to crime science, drawing academics from across disciplines. The JDI is establishing close working relationships with businesses, law enforcement agencies and policymakers to ensure that teaching and research are focused on practical, real-world problems and solutions. The Institute is also establishing a teaching programme, including short courses for the police, crime analysts and crime and disorder partners.

With its strong links to industry, UCL's Bartlett School is another department that works closely with crime and security issues, investigating how crime can best be designed out of the built environment.

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Page last modified on 17 mar 11 09:49