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Security Assurance of Operational Technology

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Applications are invited for a Research Studentship (PhD) to carry out research within the School of Computing and Digital Media at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, under the supervision of Dr Andrei Petrovski and his team.

The duration of project will be up to 36 months, commencing in February or October 2020 or at a mutually agreed time.

Proposed Research
The proposed research theme is in Cyber Physical Systems: Security and Communications

Security of operational technology (OT) systems has been a critical issue that has faced organisations since the use industrial control systems. Lately the threat surface for OT systems has considerably grown both in size and variety. One of the major forms of such threats is referred to as advanced persistent threats (APT), which exploit various ways to open the system to malware.

In this regard it has been statistically proven that the biggest threat comes from the misuse of operational technology. In particular, insiders pose the biggest threat to such systems, which necessitates the development of a robust automated approach capable of reliably identify the cases of equipment misuse, both intentional and malicious. Other aspects of the investigation involve:
• the taxonomy and dynamics of insider APTs;
• auditing and governance of OT security;
• training the operators in proactive threat detection.

Key Skills
Applicants should have a very good BSc (Honours) (First or Upper Second class) degree or a Master degree (with Distinction or Merit) in Computing Science or related discipline.

Desirable Experience
• Knowledge of issues relating to data analytics and modelling
• Interest in computational intelligence and/or machine learning
• Knowledge of network security
• Knowledge of networking and operating systems, including Windows server, Kali Linux
• Familiarity with advanced persistent threats
• Experience with systems audit and control
• Interest in analysing data breaches, exploring log files using pattern matching and machine learning techniques

Essential Knowledge and Experience:
• The project will require the understanding, development and application of data processing and machine learning techniques

Enquiries can be emailed to Kate Lines at and will be forwarded to Dr Petrovski if technical in nature.

Applications should be emailed to Kate Lines at . The applications should consist of a covering letter or personal statement of interest, and a CV. Further information such as passport details or transcripts may be requested during the short-listing stage. Applicants will be contacted for interview and may be asked to complete a short practical task.

Funding Notes

Self funded with relevant visa if required.

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