Prague, Czech Republic, November 5, 2019 – Avast [LSE:AVST], a global leader in digital security products, and The Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU), have announced a partnership to advance research in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The collaboration is the first of its kind in this field with the Avast AI and Cybersecurity Laboratory (AAICL) located on campus at CTU in Prague where most of the research will be undertaken.
Avast’s rich threat data from over 400 million devices globally will be combined with the CTU study of complex and evasive threats to undertake research on the means to pre-empt and inhibit attempts made by cybercriminals to use new technologies including artificial intelligence to mount increasingly sophisticated and damaging cyberattacks. The goals of the laboratory include to publish breakthrough research in this field, and to enhance Avast’s malware detection engine, including its AI-based detection algorithms.
“The power of this partnership is to facilitate the sharing of groundbreaking research and its real-world application. For AI to work well in the context of cybersecurity, you need a lot of data. But you also need cybersecurity professionals and academics for detailed malware analysis that can be fed into the AI machine. This collaboration with CTU is designed to bring together the world’s richest cybersecurity dataset with some of the best minds in the field of AI, so we can learn from one another,” said Avast CEO, Ondrej Vlcek. “In the wrong hands, AI as a tool can create more sophisticated malware and distribute mass-scale spearphishing attacks. This alliance with CTU will help circumvent AI-based attacks now and in the future.”
AAICL, which is based in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at CTU (FEE CTU), will be supported by a $1M investment by Avast spread over a five-year period. The funding will be used to carry out scientific research in the AI and machine learning field, helping CTU to grow its talent pool and establish itself as one of the leading academic institutions on AI and cybersecurity. AAICL is the product of previously successful teamwork between Avast and CT. Joint projects include as the Aposemat research project on IoT devices in February 2018, and more recently the discovery of Geost, a large-scale Android banking botnet targeting Russian citizens.
CTU researcher Sebastián García, who has been appointed Lab Director at AAICL, said: “Collaboration with industry is crucial for moving our academic research forward. The laboratory will combine Avast’s global insights, threat data and experience with the AI and security research produced at CTU, to create a joint program that tackles the big cybersecurity issues of our time, including the detection of evolving and highly-sophisticated malware, IoT security, and identification and analysis of fake news.”
AAICL will therefore employ three full-time senior researchers and up to ten PhD students of the FEE CTU.
About Czech Technical University in Prague
The Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) is one of the biggest and oldest technical universities in Europe. CTU currently has eight faculties (Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Architecture, Transportation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Information Technology) and more than 18,500 students. For the 2019/20 academic year, CTU in Prague is offering its students 170 accredited study programmes in Czech language and 53 in foreign languages. CTU educates modern specialists, scientists and managers with knowledge of foreign languages, who are dynamic, flexible and can adapt quickly to the requirements of the market.