ACS Fellow Willy Susilo will research pragmatic cryptography.

Professor Willy Susilo is one of the world’s top cyber security researchers. Image: supplied

ACS Fellow Professor Willy Susilo has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowship worth $3 million which he will use to develop cryptographic solutions for cloud environments.

Professor Susilo is head of the University of Wollongong’s school of computing and information technology. He said it meant a lot to him and the university’s Institute of Cybersecurity and Cryptology (iC2) to be awarded the prestigious ARC Fellowship.

“At iC2 we have been conducting research in the area of cryptology for more than 30 years, and this fellowship is a testament that the work that we are doing is at the forefront of this research field,” Professor Susilo said.

Throughout his illustrious career, the cyber security researcher has become a foremost expert in building out cryptography for now-ubiquitous cloud services.

“Since 2006, when large companies like Google and Amazon first began using ‘cloud computing’ to describe web-based access to software, computer power and files, my research has focused on cryptography and its applications in cloud security,” Professor Susilo said.

“Cryptography is critical in protecting data and computing for confidentiality and integrity. Current cryptography solutions are advanced but idealised and incompatible with existing cloud applications.”

COVID-19 accelerated th shift to cloud infrastructure and brought with it risk of data theft as firms rushed to jump onto cloud services without adequate cyber security measures in place.

As use of the cloud has grown, so too has the need for IT professionals with cloud expertise – including leveraging the cryptographic techniques Professor Susilo has pioneered – who can earn 24 per cent more than their colleagues, one recent survey found.

University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Professor David Currow praised Professor Susilo for his work that continues to put Australia on the forefront of technological development.

“The endorsement of the ARC through this Laureate Fellowship cements the value of the visionary research at iC2 and will bring about significant improvements to the way we all operate in the online world, the impacts of which we are just beginning to imagine,” Professor Currow said.

Professor Susilo’s work has been cited in international patents for companies like Microsoft, IBM, Nokia, and Samsung and he has published over 500 research papers.

In 2021, Professor Susilo was recognised as an ACS Fellow for his contribution to authentication techniques in cloud computing, cementing his place as one of the world’s most distinguished cyber security professionals.

A year earlier, he was made a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Written by Casey Tonkin, this article was first published in ACS InformationAge.