Number of awards
Start date and duration
September 2020 3.5 years
This project aims to study the security and privacy issues relating to novel technologies that is increasingly being applied to farm and companion animals. Examples include sensor-enabled wearables, tracking technologies, outdoor cameras, environmental sensors, and feed/water monitoring. These technologies collect, process, retain and broadcast data about the animal and its surroundings to improve the animal health and in the case of farm animals, production.
Although, this rapidly growing industry has already introduced cyber security risks to both animals and their owners, it remains an under-researched field. Examples of possible cyberattacks on these systems include: stealing the heard health data to damage finance and reputation, manipulating the feeding and medicine system to harm the pet, service interruptions on remote access tools by a competitor, and DoS or ransomware attacks to lock the animals in or out of home. These attack can potentially affect the animal, owner, farm, and wider society. The candidate will identify the vulnerabilities in such systems and propose secure solutions for them. They will;
Evaluate, systematize, and contextualize existing knowledge on cyber security of technology applied to farm and companion animals.
Identify the real-world risks and threats to this technology both to animals and their owners.
Implement proof-of-concept attacks in real-world and simulated settings.
Design secure solutions with a focus on the security of one or more technologies.
The student is expected to have a strong interest in practical problem solving in computing science, engineering, and agriculture. During the PhD, the student will develop a variety of skills enabling them to enter the fast-growing world IoT applications in smart agriculture. This is an interdisciplinary project between computing science and agriculture and graduates from these disciplines are welcome to apply. Previous experience with programming and basic understanding of hardware and software security is essential. Previous knowledge on sensors and IoT platforms (e.g. agri-tech) is desirable but not essential.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Name of supervisor(s)
Dr Maryam Mehrnezhad(https://bit.ly/3aNDAL9
Dr Matthew Leach (https://bit.ly/2TKZCIE
The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in Computing Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Agriculture, or a related subject.
How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (https://bit.ly/33dcRVZ
You need to:
insert the programme code 8050F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD’ as the programme of study
insert the studentship code COMP019 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code COMP019 and state how your interests and experience relate to the topics outlined above
send a copy of your CV and covering letter to [email protected]
attach degree transcripts and certificates (if available) and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications (if available)
Dr Maryam Mehrnezhad [email protected]