Northeastern’s internationally recognized cyber security group considers security problems on two fronts. On one front, the group focuses on the growing field of wireless and mobile communications, including hybrid networks composed of landlines and wireless laptops, desktops, and cell phones. Its goal is to make communication more efficient, reliable, resilient, and secure. On the other front, the group considers system security involving malware and vulnerability analysis, and intrusion detection.

Limited resources such as battery life and bandwidth make wireless and hybrid networks especially vulnerable to being overwhelmed by natural disasters or malicious attacks from sophisticated adversaries. In the future, critical infrastructures such as the power grid, as well as applications such as monitoring patients and maintaining “smart” environments, will increasingly rely on hybrid networks. For health and public safety, it is imperative to ensure the security, reliability, and availability of these networks.

Researchers are also involved in the International Secure Systems Lab, which focuses on issues such as Web security, malware and vulnerability analysis, and intrusion detection. The group’s other research interests include adaptive diversification to achieve robust communication; ensuring that secure networks are always available to legitimate users; and preventing the theft of credit card numbers and other data over wireless networks.

The group’s long-term goal is to develop the enabling technology for an ambient intelligence that is aware of people’s presence, needs, and context, and is resilient to natural and manmade disasters, thus bridging the cyber and physical worlds.

Team Achievements

  • Led the effort to have Northeastern named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R) and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-E) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
  • Received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] for a wireless anti-jamming project called Second-generation wireless Protocol Resiliency Enabled by Adaptive Diversification [SPREAD];
  • Devised efficient group key management schemes to reduce vulnerabilities resulting from a continuously changing group of users, funded by DARPA;
  • Co-founded and co-direct the International Secure Systems Lab, a collaborative effort of European and U.S. researchers focused on Web security, malware and vulnerability analysis, intrusion detection, and other computer security issues
  • Awarded grant from the Office of Naval Research to apply manifold learning techniques to large-scale data and provide tools for use in cyber security, social media, and cyber-physical systems;
  • Organized NSF-sponsored workshops on Biologically-Enabled Wireless Networks Design and Modeling and on Biological Computations and Communications.