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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The University of New England’s (UNE) Dr Kamaljeet Sandhu has been awarded a major international research grant that will see him lead a world-first project aimed at preventing and detecting cybersecurity threats.

Dr Sandhu is one of twelve Australian researchers from nine universities to receive a prestigious Australia India ‘Unati’ Research Collaboration Grant from the Australian Government, which is designed to strengthen the partnership between the two countries. With cybercrime on the rise, Dr Sandhu says it’s more important than ever to tackle this serious national security concern head-on.

“Cybersecurity impacts every one of us, including businesses, universities, and governments, and the biggest problem is we cannot predict where and when a cyberattack is going to happen.”

“This research will benefit people, universities, businesses, and governments of Australia and India. However, the benefits will also be for the larger global community and for anyone using the internet.”

As Australian Principal Investigator, Dr Sandhu will collaborate with colleagues from Indian universities to build new ethical frameworks and identify best practices for digital technology platforms to detect and prevent cyberattacks.

This will involve investigating a quantum computing model that will solve complex problems faster than classical computers, and training machines to self-detect attacks.

Dr Sandhu says this project could not come at a better time, as the digital technology platforms currently used are vulnerable to threats and “silent destructions”, with no way to know about a cyberattack until it is too late.

“On the surface, we may not realise this and think everything is fine, but as scientists, we get deeper and can see the full impact of viruses from cyber attackers and the silent destructions they leave behind for years for other cyber attackers to exploit. This can result in both financial and non-financial losses.”

“The cyberattackers, whether that’s one per person or a group, or even state sponsored, are getting bolder and stronger as they have the capacity to cyberattack multiple points at the same time, from any location without physically being there.”

The project is currently underway and grant activities will be complete by the end of 2023. However, Dr Sandhu believes it’s an area of research that will be ongoing for years to come.

“The two countries are both leaders in IT, however, India is leading the epicentre of the IT software world.”

“On my recent visit to India I was invited to the biggest Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre powered by the next generation of Quantum computers and I was very impressed by the scale of development, not seen anywhere in the world.”

“This has enormous potential for Australian universities, scientists and researchers to tap into those opportunities, and we have received expression of interest from several universities in Melbourne and Sydney to come aboard.”

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