Security, Privacy, and Advanced Computing Laboratory (SPACL) at KSU

Malware Detection via Encrypted Packet Analysis
The recent security reports from highly reputable security firms such as Symantec unanimously describe the rapidly growing presence of malware seeking for a financial advantage. While many countermeasures such as firewalls and anti-malware software are developed to fight against this emerging threat, most of them put a heavy computational burden on the devices themselves, and therefore, they are not suitable for the ever-increasing number of resource-limited personal devices. The monitoring of network packets coming from / going into devices is a promising approach to address this issue. Unfortunately, this method is not highly effective for the group of malware which are exploiting message encryption to hide their presence from network monitoring systems. On the other hand, the most state-of-art approaches are not suitable for real-time monitoring of malware activities as requiring significant amount of time to determine the presence of a malware. To address this issue, this project aims to develop novel algorithms to detect the presence of malware exploiting encryption based on various techniques from both worlds, Analytical Data Science and Cryptanalysis, throughout network packet monitoring only.

Security, Privacy, and Efficiency of Networked Storages
Given the widespread desire to use Big Data and their applications over resource hungry end user Internet of Things (IoT) terminals, the significance of networks storages such as cloud storage and fog storage are rapidly growing. Due to the high financial value of the data on the networked storages, they tend to be an attractive target of cybercrimals. To address this issue, the development and adoption of well-verified defense machnism against the cyberattacks are of great importance. This project aims to investigate new emerging network storage systems, identify their weakness in terms of security and privacy, and propose technical measures for the identified issues.

Blockchain Technologies and Their Applications
The recent years have witnessed the exploding popularity of various virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. Thanks to the popularity of the virtual currencies, Blockchain technology, which is a distributed computing technology enabling the implementation of most virtual currencies, are also attracting lots of attentions. Currently, many researchers are making serious efforts to further expand the adoption of Blockchain technology to various applications outside the realm of virtual currency. Most noticeably, IEEE has initiated IEEE Blockchain Adoption Initiative in 2017. This project aims to investigate the fundamental aspects of blockchain technologies and introduce new applications.

Computer Science Education for All
During recent years, Computer Science (CS) has been recognized as an important discipline in preparing K-12 students to be critical participants and creators in a digital age. The U.S. Department of Education (DoE), National Science Foundation, and most importantly President of United States have designated CS as one of the top educational priorities. Despite all the efforts described above, the field of CS education remains to be largely inaccessible to female as well as students with disabilities, low SES, and linguistically diverse background. This project aims to design innovative tools and approaches to resolve the disparity, provide equal opportunities to students, especially those from traditionally under-represented groups.

Truck-Drone Tandem Delivery Route Optimization
Thanks to the recent technological advances in the field of robotics, a wide variety of robots with superior physical and computational capabilities have been introduced to the market. These newer generations of robots can deal with a wider range of applications by cooperatively executing missions, which used to be well beyond the ability of a single robot. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is also known as a drone, is an advanced type of robot with flying capability. The initial researches on drones are mostly for non-civil applications such as military use and space exploration. Recently, this new aero-robotic technology has identified a number of civil applications. Among those, the idea of operating a group of delivery trucks loaded with launchable delivery drones is being test by delivery companies such as UPS. While the hardware to implement such system is being built and tested, it is not difficult to imagine that this new technology will be implemented and adopted by delivery companies in the near future. This project aims to investigate various scheduling and coordination issues in order to unleash the full potential of this new delivery system.

Industrial Control System (ICS) Security
Industrial Control System (ICS) an umbrella term for a group of control systems and associated instrumentation for industrial process control. A ICS can be as small as a set of mounted controllers on a device, and as large as a huge interconnected and interactive distributed control systems which have thousands of field connections. The larger systems are usually implemented by Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, or distributed control systems (DCS), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), though SCADA and PLC systems are scalable down to small systems with few control loops. Such systems are extensively used in industries such as chemical processing, pulp and paper manufacture, power generation, oil and gas processing and telecommunications. Due to the significance roles, ICS tends to be a target of cybercriminals as well as cyberterrorists. This project aims to study the security vulnerability of existing ICS systems and introduces security countermeasures against possible cyberattacks.

Smarter City via Technology Development

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