Groundbreaking European cybersecurity project celebrates its first anniversary

Professor Kazemian and the Intelligent Systems Research Centre are part of a €5 million EU-funded Horizon 2020 project which is helping law enforcement agencies stop cybercriminals.

Date: 11 November 2019

A €5 million pan-European project involving a team of Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity experts from London Metropolitan University has completed its first year.

Based across 17 organisation in Europe, the EU-funded ‘Scalable privacy-preserving intelligence analysis for resolving identities’ (SPIRIT 786993) project team will help law enforcement agencies identify cybercriminals by developing sophisticated artificial intelligence-based (AI) tools that can analyse millions of pieces of data from a wide range of sources, including the so-called Dark Web.

London Met is the only university from the UK involved in this ground-breaking Horizon 2020 project. London Met’s team is led by Professor Hassan Kazemian, director of Intelligent Systems Research Centre. Kazemian is an expert in the applications of AI and machine learning techniques in areas such as big data, IT security and identity resolution.

Professor Kazemian from Intelligent Systems Research Centre said: “London Met is recognised internationally for our expertise in the application of artificial intelligence to products and services with 20 years of experience in this area, and I am delighted to lead our contribution for this important project. 

"Our ultimate aim is to provide practical tools that law enforcement agencies can use to identify criminals hiding online and beyond in Europe and elsewhere. These tools will be the most sophisticated of their kind and will able to analyse texts, audio, videos and images from millions of closed and open sources across the world.”

A growing problem

The Office for National Statistics data revealed there were 6 million cybercrimes in the UK alone in 2017/18, accounting for half of all fraud cases. A person is more likely to be a victim of fraud or cybercrime than any other offence.

Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright of West Midlands Police said: West Midlands Police are excited to be involved with the Spirit Project.  The configuration of the open, deep and dark web often creates an environment where criminal elements can use the digital space to hide and retain their anonymity.

"The breadth of knowledge and expertise offered by all the supporting partners will provide the best opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of digital investigations across all law enforcement agencies.  Whether you live, work or drive through a community the results from this project will make that experience safer.” 

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Robinson of Thames Valley Police said: “The work of the Spirit project promises to provide a step-change in the technological options available to support identity resolution. The use of DNA evidence and fingerprints revolutionised policing, but the rise of more sophisticated globalised criminality has created the need for more advanced identity resolution tools. 

“Thames Valley Police is proud to work alongside London Metropolitan University, and the other end users, West Midlands Police, European Centre of Psychology Investigation and Criminology, Local Police Antwerp, Hellenic Police Borders Unit in Greece, Polish Police Academy, and Ministry of internal affairs of the Republic of Serbia in this ground-breaking project, which will save both time and effort in identifying offenders and thereby significantly contribute toward community safety.”