Maritime Cyber Risk assessment and mitigation using Artificial Intelligence
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Computing
Applications accepted all year round
The work on this project could involve:
- Conducting a comprehensive literature view on Maritime systems and the cyber security issues they inherent.
- Simulating a PLC/SCADA maritime environment and collect data with PLC/SCADA and users activities.
- Conducting an experimental study on the simulated environment and develop a deep learning technique in order to assess risk and provide mitigation suggestions.
- Evaluating proposed method and compare with other methods
- Publishing 2 journal publications and possible interaction with H2020 FORESIGHT
The need to reduce operational costs and delivery times has led the shipping industry to seek technological solutions to automate operations (Tovey, 2016) without taking in consideration cyber-security. On the other hand, autonomy is disrupting the maritime sector in the same way as smart phones did over ten years ago. The maritime industry controls over 90% of the world trade and is estimated at $183.3 billion. Finland is currently piloting the autonomous ship (an unmanned surface
vehicle (USV)), whereas, three other organizations are aiming to produce their remotely operated vessels by 2020 and ocean-going ships for maritime transport by 2030 . These unmanned ships aim to increase safety of operations at the sea, reduce fuel consumption, and transform the work roles in the maritime domain. Maritime cyber threats are, as for most systems, a combination of human factors and technology, therefore, a system that would allow vessel owners to assess the level of cyber security risk, resulting from behaviors of staff, their IT systems and potential attacks is of great importance.
Currently, there is no method to provide a real-time risk assessment of cyber threats on-board vessels, so the aim of this project is utilise research conducted in [2,3,4), investigate PLC and SCADA technologies and protocols used in maritime sector and developed a Cyber Security Risk Assessment and Mitigation framework that will increase security and resilience of the shipping industry against cyber-attacks by monitoring human behaviours and IT system, minimising potential risk based on a continuous analysis of real time information.
 Rolls-Royce, “Autonomous ships: The next step,” White Paper, Available: http://www.rolls-royce.com/~/media/Files/R/Rolls-Royce/ documents/customers/marine/ship-intel/rr-ship-intel-aawa-8pg.pdf [Last accessed: 21 st Feb. 2019]
 Shire, R., Shiaeles, S., Bendiab, K., Ghita, B., & Kolokotronis, N. (2019). Malware Squid: A Novel IoT Malware Traffic Analysis Framework Using Convolutional Neural Network and Binary Visualisation. In Internet of Things, Smart Spaces, and Next Generation Networks and Systems (pp.65-76). Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-30859-9_6
 Shiaeles, S., Kolokotronis, N., & Bellini, E. (2019, July). IoT vulnerability data crawling and analysis. In 2019 IEEE World Congress on Services (SERVICES) (Vol. 2642, pp. 78-83). IEEE. DOI:10.1109/SERVICES.2019.00028
 Kolokotronis, N., Brotsis, S., Germanos, G., Vassilakis, C., & Shiaeles, S. (2019, July). On Blockchain Architectures for Trust-Based Collaborative Intrusion Detection. In 2019 IEEE World Congress on Services (SERVICES) (Vol. 2642, pp. 21-28). IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/SERVICES.2019.00019
Fees and funding
Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).
2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a
International full-time students: £16,400 p/a
International part-time students: £8,200 p/a
PhD by Publication
External candidates £4,407 p/a
Members of staff £1,680 p/a*
2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)
PhD and MPhil
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
International full-time students: £17,600 p/a
International part-time students: £8,800 p/a
All fees are subject to annual increase.
PhD by Publication
External Candidates £4,407 p/a*
Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*
If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
- programming (ideally python)
- deep learning/machine learning
- networking protocols
- Linux OS
- PLC/ SCADA
How to apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Stavros Shiaeles (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.
When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.
If you want to be considered for this PhD opportunity you must quote project code COMP5310220 when applying.