Newcastle-based Strategic Group has partnered with the University of Newcastle on a research project into the secure management of Internet of Things (IoT) devices within the agribusiness sector.

The joint effort is supported by the Federal Government’s Innovation Connections grant, part of the Entrepreneur’s Programme.

The project will attempt to design a new system for agriculture businesses to monitor and maintain IoT devices.

Strategic Group’s director of business development Aron Robertson said the company recognised a gap in the market and utilised the government program which assisted in connecting the business to researchers at the university.

“Many of these businesses have amassed a range of IoT devices over time to help monitor and measure all different areas of the land,” Robertson said.

“This collection of IoT devices are usually from all different brands and manufacturers, with an array of diverse price points.”

According to Strategic Group, farms and agriculture producers use a range of different smart technologies, from monitoring soil moisture and PH levels, through to drones taking aerial photographs of crop fields.

“It’s been well publicised how easy it can be to hack into different IoT devices which leaves these agribusinesses open to having their data stolen or accessed for nefarious purposes,” Robertson said.

As part of the research project, Strategic Group staff will use the university’s Advanced Cyber Security Engineering Research Centre (ACSRC) and associated Cyber Security Labs to test various scenarios where devices become vulnerable to attack.

The university’s labs are separated into two environments; the System Security Lab and Smart Network Infrastructure Security Lab and the Malware Lab.

“We are excited to be working with the University of Newcastle and having access to their world class facilities,” Robertson said.

"These labs give our team access to research and development technologies that we would not normally have.

“Additionally having the ability to work with the ACSRC research staff is really valuable and will assist us in our architecture design and testing of the IoT provisioning system.”