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Rolls-Royce partners with Purdue on cybersecurity network

(image courtesy: Rolls-Royce)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Rolls-Royce has developed a new cybersecurity research consortium to focus on enhancing product security for its propulsion and power systems, some of which are manufactured in Indianapolis. The company has invited Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to be the inaugural members of the Rolls-Royce Cybersecurity Technology Research Network.

Cybersecurity researchers at both universities will conduct research funded by Rolls-Royce to strengthen the security of its products from both its commercial and defense platforms.

“The lines between cyber and physical are being blurred as manufacturing, critical infrastructure, and national defense, along with commercial systems are all being interconnected,” said John Kusnierek, senior vice president for Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks Research and Technology. “It is absolutely imperative that our propulsion systems have the most advanced and effective cybersecurity available, and that we constantly innovate to stay ahead of the threats.”

Purdue and Carnegie Mellon have already begun research projects. The first research project focuses on the use of Artificial Intelligence for intrusion detection. The partners say traditional AI requires significant computing resources.

Dongyan Xu, director of CERIAS, Purdue’s cybersecurity research center, says the new research is focused on developing AI approaches that can be utilized in resource-constrained embedded systems.

“We need to address both the accuracy of detection as well as the resource efficiency. How many resources will be consumed because of this extra capacity?” said Xu.

While the network was launched with two universities in the U.S., the company says it will be adding a research university in Europe in the future.

Kusnierek says there are multiple vulnerabilities due to the tremendous amount of connectivity, whether it is the Internet of Things, data, maintenance, or operations.

“They’re complex connections, they have advantages in terms of performance, in terms of the environment, and a number of other important attributes. But these connections do open up a variety of risks for any system,” said Kusnierek.

While Rolls-Royce created this network, the company says it will be sharing the results of the research with the industry.

“We’ve created this research network framework to allow for research results to be shared not only across the industry, but globally. We’re all in this together,’ said Mike Gahn, chief of technology and product cyber at Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks. “Some research will obviously be more sensitive and maybe something that we’d like to implement before we before sharing it. But there are provisions to allow research projects to be open source at the start.”

The technology research network is expected to conduct two to three projects with each school per year and is funded by Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce is not disclosing how much it is investing in this partnership..

“Having strong cybersecurity is not optional. All of our customers rely on us every day to innovate and defeat threats,” said Kusnierek. “Therefore, we must anticipate and defend against cybersecurity threats. Our products must be cyber resilient, and fully maintain the confidence of our customers.”

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