Penten partners with scientists to keep Australians safe

29 September 2021 | News

Penten has forged a new collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), University of Adelaide, Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), and the UK’s National Cyber Deception Lab to build sovereign capability and increase advantage to Australian Defence.

Ben Whitham, GM Applied AI and Co-Founder, Penten is thrilled.

“This partnership with world-leading research institutions, like University of Adelaide, Deakin and DSTG, and UK’s National Cyber Deception Lab enable Australia to transition our great ideas into practical solutions to protect those that protect us. Penten has a pedigree in building cyber deception and AI solutions, and we are looking forward to this collaboration to help support the sovereign development of this critical capability”, Whitham said.

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, working on defence-related projects, have signed this agreement and three others to continue world-class research that aims to keep Australia safe.

Professor Debi Ashenden, Associate Professor Hung Nguyen and Associate Professor Damith Ranasinghe from the University’s School of Computer Science, have signed agreements with the Australian Government’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). All three researchers are from the University of Adelaide’s School of Computer Science.

Professor Michael Webb is Director of the Defence and Security Institute (DSI) and Academic Coordinator for Defence, Cyber and Space at the University of Adelaide.

“The University of Adelaide has signed four research agreements with DST NGTF out of the 11 that have been given the go-ahead nationally. Projects such as these that help keep Australia safe and enable our researchers to collaborate with like-minded organisations at the highest levels,” he said.

Professor Ashenden holds the DST Group-University of Adelaide Joint Chair in Cyber Security. Her project is part of DSTG’s Next Generation Technology (NGT) Cyber Call 2020 – Fusing Behavioural Science and Cyber Deception – Fighting Wars from Inside Machines.

“My project aims to fuse behavioural research on deception with cyber deception technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML),” she said.

“Our intention is to develop cyber deception threat models and effects that integrate behavioural science with technology alongside a toolkit that will assist in delivering novel cyber deception effects. We will explore the limits of how AI and ML methods can improve and automate cyber deception.”

“The research will build a sovereign capability with the aim of increasing operational advantage to Australian Defence.

Professor Ashenden’s project will forge a new research partnership between DST Group, Australian-based cyber technology company Penten, Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), and the UK’s National Cyber Deception Lab.

Associate Professor Nguyen leads the Defence, Cyber and Space theme in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.

“Network configuration inconsistencies in computers, such as policy conflicts, are a common occurrence and they can, and do, leave networks open to cyber-attacks,” he said.

“This three-year research program will develop methods that aim to address the challenge of the overwhelming complexity in managing network configurations and security.

“Our solutions will build on the formal metagraph abstraction that we developed at the University of Adelaide and will help significantly reduce the attack surface on Australian critical infrastructure.”

The research will provide Australian defence and industry with a unique cyber assurance capability through a new research partnership led by the University of Adelaide with DST Group and leading provider of communication and networking technologies, Cisco Systems Australia.

Associate Professor Ranasinghe works in the field of pervasive computing and machine learning. He will lead two projects that will continue his work in developing wearable sensor technologies and machine learning algorithms to understand the data gathered from them. His work has medical and defence applications.

“Batteryless wearables can potentially disappear into clothing or be as thin, low cost and disposable as a band aid or may even operate for a long time through simple subdermal implants that not only monitor activities but also other physiological conditions in real time,” he said.

The University of Adelaide is one of the most research-intensive universities in Australia. It is ranked in the top one per cent worldwide and its researchers work to find innovative solutions to real-world problems and industry challenges.