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2TM Regional News

The UNE researcher tackling cybercrime

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

A major international grant has been awarded to University of New England’s Dr Kamaljeet Sandhu, leading him to a world-first project aimed at preventing and detecting cybersecurity threats.

Dr Sandhu is one of twelve Australian researchers from nine universities to receive a prestigious Australia India ‘Unati’ Research Collaboration Grant from the Australian Government, which is designed to strengthen the partnership between the two countries.

Dr Kamaljeet Sandhu is just one of 12 Australians to receive the prestigious collaboration grant.

With cybercrime on the rise, Dr Sandhu said it’s more important than ever to tackle this serious national security concern head-on.

“Cybersecurity impacts every one of us, including businesses, universities, and governments, and the biggest problem is we cannot predict where and when a cyberattack is going to happen,” Dr Sandhu said.

“This research will benefit people, universities, businesses, and governments of Australia and India.

“However, the benefits will also be for a larger global community and for anyone using the internet.”

As the Australian Principal Investigator, Dr Sandhu will collaborate with colleagues from India universities to build new ethical frameworks and identify best practices for digital technology platforms to detect and prevent cyberattacks.

This will involve investigating a quantum computing model that will solve complex problems faster than classical computers, and training machines to self-detect attacks.

Dr Sandhu said this project could not come at a better time, as the digital technology platforms currently used are vulnerable to threats and 'silent destructions', with no way to know about a cyberattack until it is too late.

“On the surface, we may not realise this and think everything is fine, but as scientists, we get deeper and can see the full impact of viruses from cyber attackers and the silent destructions they leave behind for years for other cyberattacks to exploit, this can result in both financial and non-financial losses,” he stated.

The research will transform the current understanding of cyberthreats, making scientists aware of what to expect and how they can be dealt with quickly.

“The cyberattacks, whether that’s one per person or a group, or even state sponsored, are getting bolder and stronger as they have the capacity to cyberattack multiple points at the same time, from any location without physically being there,” Continued Dr Sandhu.

He also agreed the community and education providers also have a role to play in this.

His belief is that cybersecurity should be mainstream and taught at young age to children as they are early adopters of digital technologies but are not trained in cybersecurity.

Additionally, he believes universities need to offer programs meeting today’s and future cybersecurity problems in order to build a cybersecurity resilient workforce.

In a recent visit to India, Dr Sandhu was invited to the biggest Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre, powered by the next generation of Quantum computers and was fascinated by the scale of development.

“This has enormous potential for Australian universities, scientists and researchers to tap into those opportunities, and we have received expression of interest from several universities in Melbourne and Sydney to come aboard,” said Dr Sandhu.

This project is currently underway and grant activities will be complete by the end of 2023, however, Dr Sandhu believes it’s an area of research that will be ongoing for years to come.


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