Dr Surya Nepal | Group Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist, Distributed Systems Security, Theme Leader Cyber Security CRC
Surya Nepal is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61. He currently leads the distributed systems security group consisting of more than 30 staff members and 50 PhD students. His main research focus is on the development and implementation of technologies in the area of distributed systems (including cloud, IoT and edge computing) and social networks, with a specific focus on security, privacy, and trust. He has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications to his credit. He has co-edited three books, including security, privacy, and trust in cloud systems by Springer, and co-invented three patents. He is a member of the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Service Computing, ACM Transactions on Internet Technology and Frontiers of Big Data- Security Privacy, and Trust. He is currently a theme leader of the cyber security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), a national initiative in Australia. He holds conjoint faculty position at UNSW and an honorary professor position at Macquarie University.
Distributed systems and applications underpin the contemporary platform technologies that are driving the digital revolution in a range of applications, from precision health to smart cities. The Distributed Systems Security (DSS) group’s research focus is on developing platform technologies with the purpose of increasing trust and confidence in modern distributed systems and data generated by those systems. The DSS group deals with the security threats faced by these systems and applications by applying advanced methods from multiple computer science disciplines, such as modern cryptography, applied artificial intelligence, program analysis, software engineering and natural language processing; the aim is to develop novel useable security solutions as services which can assess and mitigate vulnerabilities in distributed systems and applications. These solutions can defend against cyber threats evolving in speed, scale and complexity so that the business continuity can be maintained using no or minimum human intervention.
To achieve this vision, the group’s work is being carried out under a common goal “automated vulnerability assessment and threat mitigation” under four teams: Autonomous and Application Security, Security Data Science, IoT-Cloud Security, and Human-Centric Security. DSS aims to achieve its goal by (a) building capabilities within Data61, (b) developing an Australian academic cyber security ecosystem through Collaborative Research Projects (CRPs), and (c) establishing collaboration with world leading researchers in the field through various programs. DSS aims to draw on its internal strengths, research capabilities and networks to build a multi-disciplinary repository of technical and scientific approaches and methodologies to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the cyber domain.
The DSS team was formed in 2012 by bringing together expertise in software engineering and distributed systems with a specific focus on security, privacy and trust to lead the cyber security activities within CSIRO ICT Centre. The team has lost significant capabilities since 2012 as CSIRO went through a number of organisational changes. During the research alignment process undertaken within Data61 in 2016, after the merger of CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and NICTA, the team was repositioned as a group. The group has grown significantly since 2016 in terms of its capacity and activities; by strengthening the security capacities within the group and by enlarging the cyber security projects undertaken by the group. The current group has 34 staff members, 6 affiliates and 41 students.