As online data privacy continues to cause concern, the 12-month project is viewed as a key strategy for improving security of the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT), devices which can connect and exchange data with each other, such as smart TVs.
The project involves experts at Edinburgh Napier University and US electronics manufacturer Keysight Technologies, and is supported by the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (Censis).
It will use data analytics to identify vulnerabilities in IoT devices and use this data to create a test framework for manufacturers to evaluate the risks of different devices.
The real-world applications of automated vulnerability testing could be far-reaching.
Doug Carson, solutions consultant at Keysight Technologies, said: “It’s in all of our interests that the IoT is secure. It’s not just about someone hacking your smart TV, but about protecting our critical national infrastructure – transport networks, communications networks and manufacturing supply chains.
“Every device connected to these networks is a potential way in for hackers, so it’s essential we help every supplier to test their devices against rigorous standards before they are ever put into the field.”
Professor Bill Buchanan, from Edinburgh Napier, is the lead academic on the project.
He said: “The biggest thing holding back the development of the IoT is security – specifically, concerns about the vulnerabilities of devices, the ease of hacking them, and the consequences of such hacks.
“In health care, for example, IoT could transform the way we monitor health and manage conditions like asthma. Only if we can improve confidence in IoT security can we realise the potential of smart technology.”