About Digital Security by Design

Digital Security by Design is an initiative supported by the UK government to transform digital technology and create a more resilient, and secure foundation for a safer future.

Digital security is an ongoing challenge

Today’s computer systems can be traced back to the designs developed in the UK during the 1940’s and 50’s. Since the 1970’s academics and industry have documented major issues in system design regarding keeping data safe and secure. This challenge is ongoing.

Around the world, academic and industry researchers continue to seek solutions. Though supply chain demands for legacy software compatibility mean we are continuing to implement solutions designed without modern digital security factored in.

Due to the industry influence and technical capabilities of the Digital Security by Design programme partners, we have a unique opportunity to change this by developing new systems and software implementations designed to address system vulnerabilities in ways not considered possible before.

Digital Security by Design technology

The scope of our challenge includes implementing updated hardware architecture, developing the software and system development tools that will run on it, and demonstrating its application and value in different industry sectors.

The DSbD programme has already delivered the first hardware implementation of DSbD technology as a prototype System on Chip (SoC) and development board, Morello.

Developed by UK-based Arm, the Morello board is a real-world test platform for the Morello prototype architecture developed by Arm, based on the University of Cambridge Computer Lab’s CHERI protection model.

CHERI extends conventional hardware Instruction-Set Architectures (ISAs) with new architectural features to enable fine-grained memory protection and highly scalable software compartmentalisation.

How did Digital Security by Design come about?

UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together our world-leading research base with Britain’s best businesses to transform how we live, work and move around.

Digital Security by Design (DSbD) is a programme from the ISCF, which brings together £70m of government funding matched by £117m of industry co-investment.

Until now, the improvements that Digital Security by Design offer have been blocked by the need to develop hardware and software simultaneously. To move both at the same time requires a revolution to the way these processes currently work rather than just an evolution of the current technology.

This programme pulls together the right strands to move the entire sector in the same direction and overcome this huge market barrier.

The UK National Cyber Security Strategy

The future of the UK’s security and prosperity rests on digital foundations. The challenge of our generation is to build a flourishing digital society that is both resilient to cyber threats, and equipped with the knowledge and capabilities required to maximise opportunities and manage risks.

The UK National Cyber Security Strategy sets out the plan to ensure that the UK remains confident, capable and resilient in this fast-moving digital world; and that we continue to adapt, innovate and invest in order to protect and promote our interests in cyberspace.

Digital Security by Design Social Science Hub+

Discribe is a groundbreaking social science-led digital security research programme, with the goal of creating a better collective understanding of the future context for next generation digital security technology.

A community of social scientists, economists, computer scientists, and arts and humanities professionals from four leading UK universities, bringing diverse thinking together to help realise the possibility of a secure digital future for all.

Digital Security by Design Technology Access Programme

The Digital Security by Design Technology Access Programme has been developed to build a pipeline and community of developers and technology companies to trial and experiment with the new DSbD technologies.

Programme participants will have access to the prototype hardware, technical guides, and funding to support an experimentation period with the DSbD technologies within their own organisations.

There will be four Open Calls for technology organisations and developers interested in taking part in the Technology Access Programme. The next open call will be open soon.

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Delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by UKRI through the Digital Security by Design programme.