TechWorks, nquiringMinds and Oxford University announce router technology security collaboration

2 min read

TechWorks, nquiringMinds and the University of Oxford have launched The Secure Networking by Design (SNbD) project, which aims to pioneer innovation in digital security and develop advanced, open source, network protections for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and router vendors.

With the growing threats associated with cyber security, the SNbD project will focus on the router which, according to a recent industry report, accounts for over 75% of infected devices with infected routers posing a greater threat than infected IOT devices or PCs.

The SNbD project will directly address this ‘hyper-scaling’ threat by combining recent advances in router security (ManySecured) built on a secure computing hardware platform (CHERI/Morello) to harden router and networking protections.

Commenting John Moor, COO, TechWorks said, “Cyber security attacks are constantly evolving and cost the global economy billions of pounds per year. It is therefore essential that we respond to that challenge with systems and collaborations which can evolve as new threats emerge. SNdB is intended to do just that with advanced technology and the power of the open-source community.”

Nick Allott, CEO NquiringMinds, added, “ManySecured and Morello have combined to deliver security. Remote network attacks are dangerous and infections. They present a security threat with a frightening ability to scale. Hardening this network interface right down to a fundamental silicon level, is an essential component of global security strategy and our team is perfectly placed to realise this vision.”

The ManySecured project is advancing router security by building secure networking elements designed from the ground up. By leveraging concepts of AI, the ManySecured components are not only able to detect and prevent attacks, but they also aim to self-heal against emerging security threats and vulnerabilities.

The ARM Morello programme seeks to overcome weaknesses with memory safety protections found in traditional computing architectures which account for 70% of operating system vulnerabilities. It has an ambitious goal to radically update the security foundations of digital computing infrastructure which underpins the entire global economy.

By combining the secure router elements provided by ManySecured, with memory protection and secure compartmentalisation features of CHERI/Morello, SNbD aims to substantially improve the security offered by router technology.

Prof. Andrew Martin, University of Oxford, said, "Digital Security by Design is undergoing translation from research to practice at scale.  Our project will test the effectiveness of that paradigm shift and blaze a trail towards a security step-change for core network components."

The project aims to make a significant future impact on the security of routers by taking a modular approach, making individual, upgradeable software modules available across common operating systems. SNbD is intended to be a self-sustaining, collaborative initiative, with a long-lasting legacy and will adopt an open-source style operation which accepts third party contributions.

The project, part of the Digital Security by Design challenge is funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), who’s aim is to enrich and expand the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) prior to the availability of commercial hardware.