GMIT’s Dr Seamus Dowling, lecturer in Cybersecurity at GMIT Mayo, has been awarded the Fulbright Ireland TechImpact Scholarship.
This prestigious scholarship will see Dr Dowling travel to University of Dallas, Texas, where he will spend three months next summer extending his research into machine learning for the Internet-of-Things, working at the University of Dallas, Data Privacy and Security lab.
Dr Dowling is programme chair for new-industry-driven cybersecurity programmes in GMIT. In addition to lecturing, he conducts research on cybersecurity issues associated with Internet-of-Things deployments.
Speaking of his work, he said: "My research informs the delivery of our programmes whereby students have access to emerging concepts impacting cybersecurity in industry. Cybersecurity impacts many IT related industries such as industrial Internet-of-Things, robotics, healthcare provision, AI, Cloud and data services.
"Our students can track the tactics, techniques and procedures associated with malware and threat groups as they attempt to compromise organisations. There are daily high-profile breaches for our students to examine, such as the current HSE ransomware attack, all of which make for a dynamic learning experience.
"My research at the Data Privacy and Security Lab at the University of Texas, Dallas, will expand the application of machine learning algorithms on multiple Internet-of-Things hardware and software attack vectors.
"These attack vectors can be exploited by threat actors, compromising end devices, potentially providing access to an organisation’s infrastructure or contributing to subsequent denial-of-service attacks.
"Machine learning can be deployed to prolong attack interaction, identify patterns of behaviour which can be used to strengthen defences and improve an organisation's security posture. This knowledge is applicable to all industry domains but Internet-of-Things devices can often be reduced function devices, lacking robust security capabilities making them vulnerable to cyberattack.
"It’s a great honour to be awarded this scholarship. I presented at the European conference on Machine Learning in 2018 where I met Professor Murat Kantarcioglu from the University of Texas and we discussed my work.
"My research, software and datasets, are all freely available online and Dr Kantarcioglu’s students downloaded and implemented my work in their lab. We discussed possible collaborations and Dr Kantarcioglu was very supportive of a potential Fulbright application.
"The application process itself is quite involved, requiring a collaborative host institution, referees and a detailed proposal of work. My family and I were really thrilled to get the call that my application was successful as it is an opportunity for us all to experience a different cultural environment.
"Cybersecurity affects all organisations regardless of size. It also impacts industry-specific work practices, such as remote working and health provision. Our cybersecurity programmes at GMIT are as much about knowledge and awareness as about technical operations.
"Organisations do need to have hostile defences, up-to-date systems, mitigations and constant monitoring, but also the knowledge associated with data breaches, threat groups and their methods.
"This needs to be built into all technology programmes - the importance of implementing security into data services, cloud infrastructure, software development and network architecture; be that newly qualified graduates or upskilling professionals, a cybersecurity mindset in all technology development will certainly help to address the often-devastating impact of cyberattacks."