Security vulnerabilities in critical national infrastructure

Brought to you by The Security, Privacy, Identity & Trust (SPIT) Group

Join us for the first event of our new Security, Privacy, Identity & Trust (SPIT) SIG.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

Several wireless technologies are today essential for the provision of both public services and the functioning of industry businesses and their products. The security of these technologies may be taken for granted, for example: GPS provision and usage is very widespread, though vulnerabilities exist which are not difficult to exploit. This event explores the assumed securities of a number of related technologies, from Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) through to identity management and authentication, raising awareness of their vulnerabilities and possible avenues to increase their resilience.

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWSPIT.

Sponsored by Plextek

Plextek's technology specialists can solve your hardest challenges in smart sensing, advanced communications & intelligent data insight. Our people provide solutions to give you the market edge.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration, refreshments and networking


CW welcome: Paul Crane, CEO, CW (Cambridge Wireless)


Welcome from event sponsor: Richard Jacklin, Business Development–Commercial Lead, Plextek


Introduction to topic by by Yiru Zhong, SIG Champion and Market Development Manager, Soracom


Dr. Saif Abed, Director of Cybersecurity Advisory Services, The AbedGraham Group

Session to be chaired by Yiru Zhong, Security, Privacy, Identity & Trust (SPIT) SIG Champion


Q & A


‘Assured Position, Navigation and Timing’: Dr Aled Catherall, CTO, Plextek

Many systems are critically reliant on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for provision of accurate position, navigation and time information. But GNSS is easily denied or even spoofed. This presentation discusses technologies that Plextek are developing to mitigate loss of GNSS.


Q & A


‘Resilient Time for the Future’: Dr Leon Lobo, Head of the National Timing Centre, National Physical Laboratory

Time is an invisible utility, underpinning our digital infrastructure, the basis for global navigation satellite systems delivering Position Navigation and Time (PNT) information, synchronisation of 5G networks and the energy grid, to timestamp traceability critical for trading platforms in financial services. We have an increasing dependency on GNSS for PNT and our awareness of this dependency is poor. This puts us at significant risk of emerging and future applications being ‘dependent by default’ on weak space-based signals, vulnerable to interference and a rapidly developing threat landscape.


Q & A


Refreshment break and networking


‘Being proactive: Picocom’s experience of the new UK Telecommunications Security Code of Practice’s Vendor Security Assessment’: Richard Storer, Director of Security, Picocom

Session to be chaired by Sam Durrant, Security, Privacy, Identity & Trust (SPIT) SIG Champion.
In December 2022, the UK Government published the Telecommunications Security Code of Practice. This includes the requirement for network operators to assess equipment vendors against a Vendor Security Assessment (VSA). As our customers' products are built on Picocom SoCs and software, we want to provide reassurance to them that our products have the security features they require to meet the VSA, so we submitted Picocom’s products and processes to be assessed by BSI (The British Standards Institution) for compliance with the requirements of the VSA. In this talk we discuss the lessons we have learnt from the assessment and offer our opinion of the suitability of the VSA for products at our position in the telecoms supply chain.


Q & A


‘Scalable hardware vulnerabilities and software protections for Critical National Infrastructure’: Franck Courbon, CEO, Ethicronics

Space, datacenters, energy, food manufacturing...Operational technology and other critical systems always run on some electronics hardware - and no security is possible without an adequate root of trust. This short talk will particularly highlight associated supply chain and tamper attacks/protections.


Q & A




End of session and opportunity for informal networking


Event close


Saif Abed - Director of Cybersecurity Advisory Services, The AbedGraham Group

Dr Abed is a medical doctor, healthcare cybersecurity leader and cyber-diplomacy expert. He is a recognised subject matter expert within numerous sub-sectors of healthcare IT with a primary field of specialisation in cyber-warfare and crime targeting public sector healthcare systems and Chemical, Biological and Radio-Nuclear (CBRN) facilities. He is currently a Founding Partner and Director of Cybersecurity Services at The AbedGraham Group, a globally leading, exclusively clinically-based healthcare IT and cybersecurity technology and advisory services group. He is also a Cybersecurity Consultant within the Biosecurity and Health Security Protection (BSP) Unit of the World Health Organization developing diplomatic and capacity-building initiatives to support UN member states to enhance their cyber-resiliency across healthcare and CBRN fields. He holds multiple additional roles including as an independent expert for the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme with a focus on healthcare security. Dr Abed is regularly invited to contribute content and thought leadership for national media outlets, healthcare technology articles and global security events.  Additionally, he has previously been recognised as a multiple international award winning and published researcher in the field of oculo-plastic surgery whilst a trainee at St. George's Hospital Medical School, London. Dr Abed also holds multiple masters degrees including an MPhil in Management (U. of Cambridge) and MSc in Software and Systems Security (GCHQ Certified Pathway, U. of Oxford).

Aled Catherall - CTO, Plextek

Aled is the CTO at Plextek and a visiting fellow at within the school of defence and security at Cranfield University. Aled is responsible for setting Plextek’s technology strategy, directing its internal R&D programme and providing technical leadership and oversight to key R&D programmes for customers. Aled has 20 years’ experience of leading R&D programmes aimed at de-risking and developing novel concepts across a broad range of applications including sonar, radar, communications, electronic warfare, GNSS-denied navigation, and Internet of Things. Aled has authored numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals, chaired sessions at international conferences and holds several patents. Prior to joining Plextek, Aled was a Principal Scientist in the then Physical Sciences Department at Dstl. Aled Graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 1st class honours degree in Physics 2002, gaining the Barton prize for highest marks in his academic year, followed by a PhD in physics in 2005, sponsored by Oxford Scientific Instruments.

Franck Courbon - Founder, Ethicronics

Dr Franck Courbon MPhil, MRes, Meng, PhD is a Franco-British cybersecurity enthusiast, also driven by greener, fair and privacy enabling electronics. During 3.5 years at Gemalto Security Labs (now Thales-DIS) and 7 years at the University of Cambridge, he has brought innovative methods in the growing area of hardware security from reverse engineering, laser fault injection, memory content extraction to hardware supply chain security. Franck is now Founder & CEO at Ethicronics Limited to ensure no more compromised, counterfeit and unsustainable electronics hardware – using software.

Leon Lobo - Head of the National Timing Centre, National Physical Laboratory

Focussed on developing and delivering a national timing strategy, Dr Leon Lobo is SRO and Head of the National Timing Centre (NTC) programme at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's National Metrology Institute. The NTC will be developing capability toward a national resiliency in timing for our expanding digital infrastructure, stimulating the development of an assured supply chain and addressing the skills gap for time and frequency technologies and dissemination solutions. A chartered engineer, with a PhD in high power laser material processing, Dr Lobo joined NPL in 2011 as Group Leader for the Time & Frequency group, working with the team managing the UK’s time scale and developing quantum frequency standards. He led the team developing NPLTime®, NPL’s certified fibre-delivered time dissemination solution to the City of London for high frequency trading systems and regulatory compliance.

Richard Storer - Director of Security, Picocom

Richard Storer has worked in the semiconductor industry for over 25 years, latterly specialising in security for embedded systems as a consultant, trainer, security architect and contributor to industry security standards. He currently has responsibility for security at Picocom, a multi-award-winning semiconductor company that designs and markets Open RAN standard-compliant baseband SoCs and carrier-grade software products for 4G and 5G small cell infrastructure.

SIG Champions

Zahid Ghadialy - Principal Analyst & Consultant, 3G4G

Zahid is a technologist with a deep understanding of architecting world-class mobile products and solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the telecom industry in various roles, he has been an evangelist for mobile and wireless technologies. Over the years he has accumulated a vast following on his blogs and social networks with simple explainer posts and videos.

His 3G4G blogs are widely read where he looks at different aspects of mobile technology and especially 5G and 6G nowadays, including the architecture, deployments, use cases, applications, etc. His YouTube channel is also very popular where he explains many new features expected as part of 5G in the future. While his style and content is unique, he also references many industry publications and provides slides that are very useful to view online.

He is also very active on Twitter under his @3G4GUK brand helping disseminate the benefits of 5G and why 5G will be needed in the long run. He covers a very wide portfolio of 5G related information that is hard to find otherwise.

Until recently, Zahid was a Senior Director looking at Technology & Innovation Strategy in Parallel Wireless. As a brand ambassador, he represented the company in various Open RAN discussions and also created tutorials on Open RAN and O-RAN which are being used as reference for new starters on the topic.

Richard Jacklin - Business Development - Commercial Lead, Plextek

Richard is the Commercial Lead for Plextek Services, helping customers design and produce highly innovative electronic, radar and radio communications enabled solutions. His career, now over 30 years, has included sales management, product management and engineering leadership in companies including Ericsson, Samsung, UL, Keysight, PPM and NI. He has presented and contributed to many forums including Cambridge Wireless, GSMA working groups, and Satellite Innovation Group. Richard graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in Electronic Engineering, he was also awarded Chartered Engineer status and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Bob Oates - Associate Director, Cambridge Consultants

Bob Oates is a specialist in the interaction between safety and security for operational technology, critical infrastructure, and IoT devices. He works within the Engineering Assurance Team at Cambridge Consultants, ensuring that intelligent, AI-enabled systems are safe and secure. In addition to his academic background, Bob has over a decade of industrial experience working in the critical national infrastructure, defence, aerospace, nuclear, and maritime domains, including acting as the head of security for the development of the world’s first commercial remotely operated ship. He holds an Honorary Professorship in Safety and Security at De Montfort University.

Yiru Zhong - None

Yiru is an M2M/IoT market veteran with an industry research background and practical deployment experience. She understands the complexity of new service launches and the investigative nature of enterprise adoption trends. In her analyst past, she has launched two successful M2M/IoT research programmes, changed leadership minds on focussing on security, and managed an IoT platform validation programme. Her current role utilises her industry and IoT technology knowledge to accelerate enterprise adoption. She represents Soracom in the UK to lead conversations with start-ups, SMBs and enterprises on how to use IoT for their business. She is passionate about resolving commercial practicalities of IoT deployment and mostly building a positive conversation around IoT security.

Event Location

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Location info

Cambridge University Officer Training Corps, Army Reserve Centre, Coldhams Lane, Cambridge CB1 3HS

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