Researchers at the School of Computing Science uncovered security flaws in a community-accepted standard Bitcoin payment protocol called BIP70. The BIP70 protocol governs how merchants and customers perform payments in Bitcoin, and is supported by most major Bitcoin wallets and the two dominant Payment Processors: Coinbase and BitPay, who collectively provide the infrastructure for accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment to more than 100,000 merchants (including Dell, Microsoft and Paypal). However, a lack of authentication on the refund address defined in BIP70 opens the door for criminals to perform illegal activities without being detected, such as money laundering and phishing-like attacks. The identified flaws have been acknowledged by both Coinbase and BitPay with temporary mitigation measures put in place. However, to fully address the identified issues will require revising the BIP70 standard. The same researchers have presented a concrete proposal to revise BIP70, which is being evaluated by the Bitcoin community. If the proposed revision is eventually accepted and implemented in the Bitcoin world, the impact of this research work will likely affect every Bitcoin user and Bitcoin merchant.
published on: 20th January 2016
Times Higher Education have announced grant winners for December 2015. Among the winners are those awarded by the ‘Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’, which include a £584,269 grant awarded to Dr. Paolo Missier for the project: ReComp: sustained value extraction from analytics by recurring selective recomputation.
Read more about the awards via the THE website.
published on: 4th January 2016
The University is creating a new campaign to promote the impact of research. The campaign focuses on eight new stories from the University, one of which is about Computing Science and Electrical and Electronic Engineering entitled 'Powering Industry with Causality Modelling' (also see the School’s case study about the impact of this research). "For the past 20 years a team of computing scientists and electronic engineers at Newcastle University, UK, have been bringing together their expertise in mathematical modelling to find new ways of improving processes that touch on our daily lives." The research was pioneered by a team led by Alex Yakovlev, Professor of Computer Systems Design and Maciej Koutny, Professor of Computing Science.
published on: 23rd December 2015
A computer model that identifies the parts of a person’s brain responsible for epileptic seizures could be used to design personalised surgical procedures.
published on: 11th December 2015
The Lab of Prof. Marcus Kaiser and his team are working on the simulation of the dynamics and development of neural networks using Neuroinformatics and network analysis tools. They aim to understand how the connectome changes during brain development and evolution, which factors during development lead to neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. epilepsy and schizophrenia), and which therapeutical approaches are most suitable for individual patients with brain disorders. They use network analysis of human connectome data, simulations of brain activity, and predictions of treatment effects and side effects as healthcare technologies to inform diagnosis and treatment. They are part of the Neuroinformatics@Newcastle network and are leading the Human Brain Development Project on modelling human brain development.
published on: 30th November 2015