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Concordia to partner with Ericsson on cutting-edge cybersecurity research

New projects will use AI and machine learning to secure the 5G network
November 27, 2023

The speed and bandwidth of 5G mobile networks are creating a wide variety of applications beyond traditional mobile communication. Novel 5G-ready applications are transforming industries such as health care, transportation and manufacturing.

However, the proliferation of 5G will also place unprecedented new demands on the network, generating complex cybersecurity and privacy threats. As part of the effort to meet these challenges head on, Concordia will lead Building Cyber Resilient and Secure 5G Network Through Automation and AI, a new research project funded by the Canadian National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC) under the Cybersecurity Innovation Network (CSIN).

The project is a partnership with communications technology company Ericsson and researchers from Concordia, the University of Waterloo and the University of Manitoba. The study will investigate 5G security by designing and implementing technologies that can prevent, predict, detect and mitigate cyber threats using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, says: "In an increasingly digital world, trust is key to Canadians achieving their full innovative and economic potential. With this investment, the Cyber Security Innovation Network is strengthening our cybersecurity ecosystem by fostering partnerships to bridge sectors.”

AI can significantly enhance the security of 5G networks, according to Chadi Assi, project lead and professor at the Security Research Centre at Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science. It does so by using advanced techniques to identify and address abnormalities.

“Artificial Intelligence can change 5G network security by spotting unusual and malicious patterns over time, using specific measures to catch and stop attacks,” he says.

“When integrated within a security framework, AI helps apply security rules automatically, making 5G systems fully secure without manual intervention.”

Mourad Debbabi, dean of the Gina Cody School and director of the Security Research Centre, sees Concordia’s leading role in the initiative as a testament to its robust research and training profile in cybersecurity.

“As a founding member of the National Cyber Security Consortium, Concordia has established a longstanding tradition of collaborative R&D with industrial partners,” he says.

“Our team members can boast of expertise in diverse areas. These include 5G cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, AI-based threat hunting and security operations, and vulnerability research.”

Concordia and Ericsson have collaborated on numerous projects over the years, making this combination of research and industrial expertise a natural fit.

“Canada is a leader in cybersecurity. Similarly, our researchers and experts at Ericsson have long been studying how to best innovate and secure telecommunications networks,” says Jeanette Irekvist, president of Ericsson Canada.

“It’s our hope that this partnership with Concordia will help support the field and the adoption of made-in-Canada solutions.”

The project will receive $1 million from the NCC over three years. Matching funds of $1.2 million will come from Concordia, Ericsson and the University of Manitoba.

Research activities will also involve numerous master’s and PhD students from the Gina Cody School.

Collaborating with Deloitte to protect digital information

The NCC has also announced that the Gina Cody School will be a lead collaborator in Project Atlas. Lead by professional services organization Deloitte, Project Atlas seeks to create a cybersecurity tool designed to protect digital information through machine learning and AI applications.

The collaboration will involve support from Gina Cody School faculty in research and development activities.

The school will also provide strategic support in the field of intelligence solution development and the opportunity for Gina Cody School students to obtain practical experience on cybersecurity innovation projects and create a network with experts in the field.

Cybersecurity of digital identities

Researchers at Concordia’s Security Research Centre will also collaborate with Université du Québec en Outaouais, the lead recipient, Université Laval and Portage Cybertech on the cybersecurity of digital identity technologies.

Learn more about
Cybersecurity at Concordia.



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