Your monthly Cybersecurity Speaker Series

Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 17h CET | Muhammad Usman (USW, UK) – Securing Smart Homes: Cross-Layer Second Line of Defence 

February 24, 2021, at 17h CET, Muhammad Usman, Cyber Security Research Group at University of South Wales, UK, will give a talk on “Securing Smart Homes: Cross-Layer Second Line of Defence.

You are cordially invited to join the free live stream on youtube! To subscribe to the link, and the series announcements, just enter your mail address in the box on the left.


Despite the rapid developments in multiscale cyber-physical systems such as smart home, the data transmitted by the contributing sensing devices are vulnerable to anomalies due to attacks, node faults and transmission errors. This may affect the consistency of the received data and may lead to incorrect decision making at both ‘local’ and ‘global’ contexts within smart home and smart city, respectively.

We will first discuss the security horizon of smart homes and then provide an overview of a novel mobile-agent based cross-layer anomaly detection scheme, as a second line of defence. It will be highlighted that how the proposed scheme takes into account stochastic variability in cross-layer data obtained from received data packets and defines fuzzy logic-based soft boundaries to characterise behaviour of sensor nodes. Both theoretical foundations and real testbed-based results will be discussed.

Muhammad Usman

Muhammad Usman received the MS (Computer Science) from the PMAS-AAUR, Pakistan with first class and obtained Ph.D. from School of Information and Communication Technology, Griffith University, Australia. He severed as a Postdoc Research Fellow in Cyber Security and Machine Learning at University of Surrey, UK.

He has over 17 years of experience during which he has held several academic and industrial positions in different parts of the world including Australia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UK. His current research interests include design and analysis of security and privacy techniques for cyber-physical systems, security and privacy issue of IoT-enabled and smart systems, security, trust and privacy of cross-discipline domains, formal and statistical modelling, applied machine learning and data analytics in several domains such as health, social science, etc. He has published more than forty-five research papers in international journals and conferences including prestigious journals such as in several IEEE Transactions. He has also published a book.

He has been recipient of several research and travel grants. He has led, and acted as an associate guest editor, in special issues in IEEE transactions and other journals. He has served in different capacities such as Steering Committee Chair, Organising Committee member, Focal Person, Publication Chair and TCP member of several international IEEE conferences. He is a member of Network Security Research Group at the Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems at Griffith University, Australia. He is a member of The Cyber Security Research Group at University of South Wales, UK. He is also a member of Computer Science Teachers Association, endorsed by ACM, USA. He is a Juniper certified networking and security specialist. His research paper has received the best paper award in IEEE ComTech 2017.

The Cyber Security Research Group at the University of South Wales (USW)

The Cyber Security Research Group at the University of South Wales (USW) is concerned with the security of data, software, components, connections, systems, humans, organisations and society with emphasis on cross-cutting concepts such as forensic analysis, confidentiality, integrity, availability, risk, adversarial thinking and systems thinking, which is informed by strong relationships with industry, government agencies and academia in the delivery of operationally focused applied cybersecurity research.

The Group is particularly interested in the interplay between situational awareness, computer networks, computer forensics and vulnerability development and the creation of a single integrated approach to computer network defence and computer forensics via the development of tools and techniques that support information sharing.

In collaboration with several regional, national, and international players USW is working on a range of research projects such as FORMOBILE – from mobile phones to court; Reputation management in smart vehicle ecosystem; ResiCAV – protecting the mobility industry from emerging cybersecurity threats; Anomaly detection in smart cyber-physical systems; The importance of Steganography within criminal investigations; Privacy preserved ranking of industrial sensing services; Trust in feedback-driven learning environments and several others.

The team at USW is fully engaged with its civic mission and is one of the first eight universities in the UK to have specially developed materials accredited under the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CyberFirst banner. Working closely with Tarian, the Regional Organised Cyber Crime Unit, USW Cyber experts have helped small businesses combat phishing dangers during the Covid-19 lockdown. The National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) opened in Ebbw Vale in 2019 and is the result of a collaboration between Welsh Government, global technology company Thales, and USW. Researchers in USW maintain a range of responsibilities alongside their USW roles, including: Digital Evidence in the Criminal Justice System (Ministry of Justice): Digital Forensics Experts Group (Forensic Science Regulator’s Group); Welsh Government Cyber Resilience Group; BCS South Wales Chair and Tarian Cyber Volunteers.

The University won the 2019 and 2020 Cyber University of the Year Awards, and was a finalist at the 2019 FinTech Awards Wales. We are the only NCSC recognised Academic Centres for Excellent in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) in Wales and one of six in the UK having achieved Gold standard in 2020.

The Cyber CNI Lecture Series is a free monthly event that takes place on the last Wednesday of the month from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

The event consists of a 40-minute expert presentation followed by a 30-minute discussion.

The Cyber CNI Speaker series aims to raise awareness and understanding of cyber security issues among all audiences. It aims to enable an ongoing dialogue between experts from industry and academia and the general public (citizens, families, small and large businesses, public organizations, etc.). All of us are concerned.

The events take place in the Grand Amphithéâtre d’IMT Atlantique in Rennes (Cesson-Sévigné) and will be broadcast live on Youtube (, allowing worldwide remote participation and including a tool to participate in the discussion.

How the digital transformation is changing our lives

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown all of us the benefits of information technology. It allows us to work at a distance, to live at a distance, and most importantly, to keep in touch at a distance – with younger and older people, those closest to us, and even making new contacts.

Our society relies more and more on information and operational technologies. Examples include water, energy, heat and cooling supply, communications, healthcare, production and processing of goods, transportation, national security, banking, research and education, and food production.

What all these areas have in common is that they make intensive use of networked distributed computer systems. These systems can be attacked in many ways. This is no longer just a problem for computer “pros”, because computer systems are essential to all of us. The effects of “cyber-attacks” range from power outages to the collapse of the health care or banking sectors.

Program and registration:

Marc-Oliver Pahl

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