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CASPER Shield – ‘detect and protect’ cybersecurity for Smart Homes

1 March 2023

Cardiff innovation showcase at Cyber Innovation Series

A cybersecurity system that helps protect smart homes from cyber-attacks has debuted at a UK Government ‘dragon’s den’ event.

CASPER Shield uses first-hand cyber and physical data to detect and protect homes. Developed by computer scientists and engineers at Cardiff University, the system uses first-hand data from around the home to detect irregular events, rather than relying on insecurely transmitted, manipulable second-hand cyber or network data.

It deploys algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence to discover anomalies in real time, based on the behaviours of devices and occupants in a holistic manner.

Project lead, Dr Charith Perera – Project Lead and CEO, GCHQ national resilience fellow, says this dual method approach to smart home cybersecurity beats traditional security systems.

“Smart homes contain programmable electronic devices that enable home automation and interconnectivity. However, with this comes an increased attack surface, making the smart home an attractive target for adversaries. Conventional home security or network protection systems focus on purely cyber or physical events, rather than a combined approach, meaning they fail to detect certain intrusions.”

CASPER were one of 15 finalists in UKRI’s Cyber ASAP Demo Day, showcasing  their innovation and  presenting their pitch to demonstrate Proof of Concept.

Charith added: “It was an exciting event, and extremely worthwhile. We pitched for five minutes, and then met invited guests at what was the sixth annual showcase, so we were able to talk to past alumnae from previous Cyber ASAP Demo Days, and also chat with potential investors and business consultants.

“With recent statistics showing that there are over 200 million smart homes which could be vulnerable, the need to protect smart homes against these types of attacks is increasing. Traditional security systems are either network (e.g. Intrusion Detection Systems) or physical-based (e.g. smart alarm security systems). CASPER Shield offers a combined cyber-physical solution and aims to deliver a second line of defence should traditional front-line solutions fail.”

Through extensive market research, the CASPER team established that no other providers were offering a combined solution.

Yasar Majib, Chief Technology Officer, a PhD student with 15+ years’ experience in public safety, satellite systems, computer sciences and information security, said: “We recognised that should front-line security systems fail, smart homes would be left vulnerable to attack, so created a more resilient solution that complements and acts as a back-up to such systems to secure at the core.”

Hakan Kayan – Chief Scientific Officer and a former project engineer and R&D engineer, said: “CASPER’s novel system aims to protect you and your connected things from criminals and make connected living spaces more secure and safe. The approach is built on edge computing to ensure end-user data security and privacy with maximum confidence.”

Charith added: “Whilst the end user is smart-home owners, we hope to work with ISPs (internet service providers) and IoT Smart Home Hub providers, deploying the technology in their Wi-Fi routers or smart home hubs. Our long-term goal is to unify cyber and physical security, and use the same technology to offer security solutions to non-residential buildings.”

CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme) is the only pre-seed accelerator programme in the cyber ecosystem which provides expertise, knowledge and support to convert academic research into commercial products and services.

CyberASAP is funded by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport, (DCMS) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN