Center on Cyber


Center on Cyber

The Center of Excellence for Cyber Systems and Information Assurance(CoE-CSIA) was established in 2014 fundamentally to conduct basic and applied research in the area of Cyber Systems and Information Assurance. The Center was also meant to train professionals in India and the region through degree, non-degree, and public education programs. During the last six years, the Center has been able to collaborate with industry, government, and academia on both the theory and practice of information assurance and cyber security.

Prof Huzur Saran, in-charge of the Center in conversation with Dr Vanita Srivastava of the Communication Cell on the activities lined up by the Center, the efforts taken to fill the manpower gap in this area and more.

Cyberspace has emerged as a strategic domain for governance, foreign policy making, internal security, defence and economy. There is however a shortage of professionals in this field. How does the Centre propose to fill the gap in this regard?

Today, Cyber Risk and Cyber Security are firmly at the top of the national and international agenda. In keeping with the national agenda, the Center of Excellence for Cyber Systems and Information Assurance (CoE-CSIA) at IIT Delhi, now in its sixth year, is engaged in basic and applied research in the broad areas of Cyber Security, Cyber Systems, Information Assurance, Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Security Policy. It is also involved in training of professionals through workshops and continuing education programs. Further, it collaborates with industry, government and academia on both the theory and practice of information assurance and cyber security. One of the ways to increase awareness about this important area of cyber security is to 'train-the-trainers'. To this effect, we held 2 TEQIP workshops for the faculty of various engineering colleges across the country.

One of the weakest links, often overlooked in the cybersecurity security domain, is the manpower. It is important to train the cybersecurity professionals and equip them with the current know-how in order for them to detect-and-defend against cyber-crimes. CoE-CSIA has been regularly organizing workshops and CEP programs for the defense personnel and government officials on various topics, including advancements in cybersecurity, network security, hardware security and cyber security policy. A total of 21 short term courses from 3 days to 16 weeks have been conducted by the Center since 2015. Practical, hands-on lab sessions were an integral part of this workshop .Specific games were also developed to provide effective training and immersive learning environments. With the launch of the new M.Tech programme in Cyber Security, we will soon have students trained in the specialised domains. sessions were an integral part of this workshop. Specific games were also developed to provide

What will be the main components of the new M.Tech course in cyber security? How many students will be admitted?

The Interdisciplinary M. Tech. programme in Cyber Security and Engineering (code: JCS) is a Masters programme offered to students who are interested in advanced learning and research in any area of cyber security.

The course structure has been streamlined into three major discipline :

  • System Security and Cyber Forensics
  • Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
  • Embedded System and Hardware Security

In this programme, new subjects are being introduced to the curriculum to meet the new advancements in the field of cyber security. These include subjects like Biometric Security, Digital Watermarking and Steganography, Data privacy and Computer Forensics.

We are proposing this course with 20 full time seats and additional sponsored candidates (full-time/part-time) from Industry/Government. The admissions to this will be through GATE in CSE/ECE/MA/EE as per institute norms.

How does the Center seek to address the future needs of cyber research in the country? What has been the major research activities of the Center since it came into existence in 2014? How many students are currently enrolled for a PhD programme under this Center?

The Center has been actively following the developments in the domain of Cybersecurity. One of the important projects currently underway at CoE-CSIA is the Indo-Japanese Security in the IoT Space (SIoTs) funded by DST. Here, several interesting ideas are being explored including Domain Specific Language for ensuring security in IoT applications, blockchains for IoT Security, light-weight encryption algorithms keeping into consideration the processor power consumption etc. Researchers at CoE-CSIA have also demonstrated the ‘hacking’ of smart meters and are suggesting ways to make them more secure.

We already have a successfully running PhD program, wherein students have been working on diverse areas of security from physical layer security to application layer security. A total of 7 PhD students were enrolled under the Center. Six of them have successfully defended their thesis and are now placed in IITs, NITs, regional colleges and industry. To address the future needs for cyber security in the country, we have launched a focussed M.Tech programme in cyber security. The students enrolled in this programme will result in manpower development and will help in overcoming the shortage of trained professionals in the domain.

How has the Center helped in popularizing the importance of cyber security among common people? What are some of the future plans that you have for the Center for bolstering the cyber infrastructure? How do you propose to spruce the global and national level collaborations for the Center?

CoE-CSIA has had the wonderful opportunity to host the talks of many eminent experts in the area of cyber security. Inherently, Cyber Security is a multidisciplinary field. The number of associated faculty members of CoE-CSIA is now 18, coming from various departments within IIT Delhi. We have also started a seminar series, where the associated faculty members of CoE-CSIA deliver popular talks in their areas of interest for the campus community. The Center has also participated in IITD’s open house, where students have displayed their research projects. It also organised a painting competition for school children as a cyber security awareness initiative.

The international collaborators of CoE-CSIA include University of Nebraska (USA), Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), University of Maryland Baltimore County (USA) and Kyushu University (Japan). We also hosted the International Workshop on Cybersecurity in March 2017 at IIT Delhi. The workshop had various national and international speakers working in this domain. CoE-CSIA, together with NTRO, had also planned a 2 weeks workshop in 2017 on Cybersecurity with the primary objective to determine the current state of expertise present in the country in the broad domain of cybersecurity and to perform gap-analysis. At present we are conducting a 16 weeks online starting from Feb-May 2021 training programme for CRPF officers in Network Security and Cryptography.