We conduct world-class research into all areas of information and cyber security, and boast a world-leading group of academics and experts from industry.
Royal Holloway has been recognised as a UK Government Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). Our department is at the forefront in the development of highly secure communications and computer systems and offers independent expertise in a field where trust and integrity are paramount.
Our research profile takes advantage of the group's interdisciplinary nature to tackle major challenges in many different areas of information security. Find out more about our research areas, or see our list of research groups below. Our dynamic research environment is supported by a range of research seminars and working groups.
The ISG has well over 20 permanent research-active members of academic staff, as well as a number of distinguished visiting professors and consultants. Alongside this, we have several postdoctoral researchers and a vibrant PhD student research community, including our Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security for the Everyday.
Systems and Software Security Research Lab
The Systems and Software Security Research Lab (S3 Lab) was founded in June 2018.
The research carried out in the lab focuses on devising novel techniques to protect systems from a broad range of threats, including those perpetrated by malicious software. In particular, we aim at building practical tools and provide security services to the community at large. Our research, kindly sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSRC) and the European Union's Horizon 2020 (H2020) Research and Innovation programme, crosses the boundaries of a number of different Computer Science related topics, such as operating systems, computer architecture, program analysis and machine learning, making our challenging journey always exciting.
The Smart Card and Internet of Things Security Centre
We have our own dedicated research centre, the Smart Card and IoT Security Centre. This centre (previously known as the smart card centre) was founded in 2002 as a world-wide centre of excellence for training and research into security issues associated with smart cards, tokens and mobile devices. Topics studied with the group now include Radio Frequency ID (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC), mobile devices and general embedded/ implementation system security. As research activity also focuses on devices with relatively limited processing and memory resources but with direct network connectivity – the Internet of Things (IoT) – the group’s name changed to “The Smart Card and Internet of Things Security Centre” in December 2015.
The Cryptography Group was formally founded in May 2021. However, the history of cryptography in the Information Security Group goes back to at least 1987, making it one of the oldest academic groups working in cryptography.
People and Society
The Information Security Department is home to a wide range of research focusing on the protection and wellbeing of people in digitally-mediated contexts. Our people and society research practices include participatory and speculative design and ethnography as well as developing collaborative engagements across a wide range of disciplines. Groups within this theme include:
- Ethnography Group
- Interdisciplinary Security Collective
The Ethnography Group at Royal Holloway, University of London was established in September 2022 by researchers in the Information Security Group. Most of us come from academic fields outside information security, including social and cultural anthropology, human and cultural geography, sociology, media and communication studies and critical criminology.
Information security is concerned with securing information – and that which depends on it – from adversaries. Information security is thus a field centrally concerned with conflict, of protecting one interest against the other. Members of the Ethnography Group use ethnographic methods of inquiry to research distinct sites of conflicting interests as a way to understand information security needs and practices held among groups with no institutional representation. This includes research with domestic workers, single-household families on the poverty edge, `data-driven’ policing networks, mobile workforces, protesters, populations in post-conflict contexts, environmental and human-rights activists, to mention a few. Our focus is thus on groups that are under-represented in information security research and concerns the information security needs of people who interact with institutions, while not the institutions themselves.
Interdisciplinary Security Collective
The Interdisciplinary Security Collective (ISC) is a newly-formed hub enabling individuals to come together to collectively explore how (cyber)security, privacy and safety may be understood in socio-technical, cultural, behavioural, and political formations across RHUL and beyond. The ISG is home to many interdisciplinary security research activities and the collective offers a platform to showcase these activities and promote collaboration and interactions between them. The ISC is currently under development but as it forms, research themes will be presented as clusters and active clusters will be promoted on the ISC’s website. The ISC also acts as a platform to organise and run interdisciplinary security events, many of them external facing, such as workshops, talks, and seminars. The ISC is currently developing a programme of regular internal events including walk and talk sessions, writing retreats, and skills building workshops.