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Novel Technologies for Cyber-Physical Security


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Prof. Vladimiro Sassone, Dr. Leonardo Aniello, Dr. Basel Halak

Project description

We are relying more and more on technology in our everyday life, which exposes us to several serious threats in the cyber-physical space. The relentless evolution of modern technologies like IoT, mobile, and cloud computing played a pivotal role to extend the possibilities offered by the cyber-physical space, which is therefore getting more and more intertwined with our lives. Many benefits have been brought in by cyber-physical technologies in terms of efficiency, opportunities, and connectivity. However, our heavy dependence on the cyber-physical space has been massively exploited by attackers to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our devices, data, and services. Attacks are not only limited to cyberspace, indeed the ubiquity of embedded devices means that adversaries can directly access them and can carry out physical and side-channel attacks. The attack surface is further complicated by the significant rise in the level of outsourcing in the integrated circuit supply chain, which has given rise to additional threats, including Hardware Trojan and integrated circuit counterfeits.

A Fully funded Ph.D. studentship at the home level are available to investigate these security issues in specific scenarios (e.g., smart homes, supply chain management) and devise novel controls and techniques to detect, predict and prevent security threats in the cyber-physical space. Novel technologies like machine and deep learning, physically unclonable functions, blockchain, and formal methods will be adapted and combined to reduce the risk of cyber-physical attacks. Please see here https://www.southampton.ac.uk/research/institutes-centres/cyber-security research for concrete examples of relevant security research directions currently active within the Cyber Security research group.

Successful candidate would have a strong background in either computer science or electronics or both, and preference would be given to those with a good understanding of cyber or cyber-physical security concepts and embedded systems. You will join the Cyber Security research group, which is recognized by GCHQ and NCSC as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) and has received a gold award as Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE). Therefore, you will be supervised by world-leading researchers in the field of cyber-physical security and join a remarkable and dynamic team of postdoctoral researchers and other Ph.D. students. Also, you would have the chance to collaborate with the Cyber Security Academy (https://csa.southampton.ac.uk/), which works closely with world-leading security companies.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications will be reviewed and scholarship awarded bimonthly until 31st August 2023 (subject to funding availability). Students are therefore encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Funding: Tuition Fees at home level and a stipend of £17,668 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Computer Science (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

For further information please contact:


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