MPhil/PhD Scholarship

University of Greenwich - Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities, Greenwich Campus

Title: IoT-HaaSS: Human as a cyber security sensor in the Internet of Things


The focus is on the paradigm of detecting cyber security threats against smart devices and Internet of Things systems and communication technologies, by involving users in the form of human sensors of security threats. This is an approach that breaks away from the tradition of building system-specific technical cyber security measures. It challenges the concept that users are the weakest link and instead empowers them to become a human firewall against cyber deception. We have proven the concept already for conventional desktop systems, but in the space-constrained interfaces of smartphones, embedded systems, smart homes, smart vehicles and other IoT and cyber-physical systems, the user is afforded a lot less information or time to spot suspicious activity.

This project will involve (1) the development of mechanisms for HaaSS reporting, as well as (2) measuring the reliability of these reports, in terms of how accurate is each user as a cyber security sensor, and (3) how trustworthy is the device through which the report is received.

For further information please contact the supervisor: George Loukas -

And see the research team’s related publications, such as:

Heartfield, R., Loukas, G. and Gan, D., 2016. You are probably not the weakest link: Towards practical prediction of susceptibility to semantic social engineering attacks. IEEE Access, 4, pp.6910-6928.

Heartfield, R., Loukas, G. and Gan, D., 2017. An eye for deception: a case study in utilising the human-as-a-security-sensor paradigm to detect zero-day semantic social engineering attacks. IEEE SERA 2017.

Syed Sadiqur Rahman, Ryan Heartfield, William Oliff, George Loukas, Avgoustinos Filippoupolitis. Assessing the cyber-trustworthiness of human-as-a-sensor reports from mobile devices, IEEE SERA, London, UK, 7-9 June 2017.

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):

Year 1:  £14,553 Year 2:  In line with RCUK rate    Year 3: In line with RCUK rate

The successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home/EU rate, currently £4,195, for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee, currently £8,305, for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase. Scholarships are available for three years, full-time from the date scholars first register as an MPhil/PhD student with the university. Applicants must meet the programme entry requirements. 

For additional information about the scholarship and links to the application form please go to: 

Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online.

All applications must include the following information.  Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

  • Scholarship Reference Number (Ref) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying
  • a research proposal *
  • a CV including 2 referees *
  • academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

 *upload to the qualification section of the application form in PDF format.

 The closing date for applications is midnight (UTC) on 22 December 2017.

The scholarship must commence before 16 March 2018.

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