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CISE Students Win at 2017 FICS Research Conference on Cybersecurity

Several students from the University of Florida Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) won the poster competition for their respective categories on March 8 during the second day of the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) Research conference.

The conference, the FICS Research Conference on Cybersecurity, was held over two days at Emerson Alumni Hall on the UF campus. Student posters on cybersecurity projects were on display for judging. On day two, the conference held an awards ceremony for the poster winners in eight categories.

CISE Ph.D. students Bradley Reaves, Logan Blue, Hadi Abdullah and Luis Vargas, along with faculty advisors Patrick Traynor and Tom Shrimpton, both from CISE, won the Network Mobility & Cloud category for their co-authored poster titled, “AuthentiCall: Efficient Identity and Content Authentication for Phone Calls.” Authenticall is a system that prevents caller ID spoofing attacks and also detects SS7 attacks from adversaries attempting to replace original call audio content with their own.

CISE Ph.D. students Grant Hernandez, Dave Tian and Chelsea Metcalf, along with Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Farhaan Fowze, and faculty advisors Tuba Yavuz from ECE and Kevin Butler from CISE won the SW Cross-layered Systems category for their co-authored poster titled, “FirmUSB: Vetting USB Device Firmware using Domain Informed Symbolic Execution.”

The project looks at the prevalence of USB ports throughout technology and how there is no way of ensuring that USB devices used in those ports are what they claim to be (ie: a flash drive, a keyboard, etc.). FirmUSB is a system that gives insight into what a piece of firmware on a USB device is actually up to.

“We have many more research ideas to pursue in this USB and embedded system security direction, and I believe this is a hard and pervasive problem,” Hernandez said. “We'd like to eventually broaden our research beyond USB firmware and into different embedded systems.”

Tempestt Neal, a CISE Ph.D. student, and her advisor, Damon Woodard, an associate professor at ECE, won the Bio, Med & Social category for their co-authored poster titled “Mobile Biometrics.” The poster explores the lack of analysis in alternative mobile device security on a dataset of application, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi usage.

“This award was definitely a much needed boost of confidence in my abilities as a researcher,” Neal said, “but it also shows that others recognize the impact and importance of my work.”

Neal also received one of two scholarship stipends from FICS Research to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, being held in Fall 2017. The conference is the world's largest gathering of women technologists. It is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM.

“Generally, engineering-based courses, conferences and organizations are predominantly male,” Neal said. “While I appreciate my male colleagues, having the opportunity to engage with other female students and professionals will offer an environment of inclusion.”

Read more about the FICS Research conference.

Visit the Anita Borg website to read more about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.