Computer Security and Information Assurance


Research in computer security and information assurance is conducted in the Information Security Laboratory (ISL) under the direction of Dr. Csilla Farkas; other faculty members in the center include Professors Duncan Buell, Caroline Eastman, Steve Fenner, Chin-Tser Huang, and Manton Matthews in Computer Science and Engineering and Professor Joe Johnson in Physics.  The Center has an isolated network that can be used for security experiments; two subnetworks allow implementation and observation of security attacks and defenses.  In addition to experimental work, the center research includes theoretical work in quantum security and protection against inference attacks in relational databases. Four undergraduate students were actively involved in designing and setting up the network and computer configurations in the Information Security Laboratory.

Information Security. Research projects in security will generally involve design, implementation, and experimentation with different security modules, such as firewalls and paradigms for security in mobile code. The controlled environment of the Information Security Laboratory will be used to both carry out security attacks and to monitor and track attacks in progress; it will also be used to evaluate basic security prevention (authentication, access control, firewalls, etc.) and detection techniques (system monitoring, intrusion detection, virus detection, etc.).  This work will provide a foundation for follow-on research to develop monitoring and tracking tools for the Information Security Laboratory.  These tools will be oriented toward specialized security topics, such as database security, WWW security, and cryptography. Additional work will involve the development of models of various types of security attacks.  These models will be included in the set of Information Security Laboratory tools used by students enrolled in security related courses.  Research in this lab is currently funded primarily by an NSF CAREER award to Dr. Farkas.

Secure Protocols. The Secure Protocol Implementation and Development (SPID) Laboratory is currently conducting research in the development, implementation, and verification of secure network protocols; current research emphases include network anomaly detection, secure sensor network infrastructures, security of intermediate network devices and wireless network security. Research projects include active network anomaly detection via intelligent signal analysis methods, and the development and evaluation of authentication protocols for IEEE 802.11 wireless networks and sensor networks.