Program Will Help Strengthen National Cyber Infrastructure

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Prof. Jie Wang presents his poster announcing the new center for internet security and forensics during this year’s Faculty Research Symposium.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

In his recent State of the Union address to Congress, President Obama declared that America must face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks, including to “our power grid, our financial institutions [and] our air-traffic control systems.” 

According to UMass Lowell Computer Science Prof. ( Jie Wang: “In 2011 alone, Symantec reports more than five and a half billion malicious attacks — an increase of more than 81 percent compared to the previous year. More than 232 million identities have also been stolen.”

To help strengthen our country’s cyber defenses and protect national security, jobs and privacy, the University merged its Center for Network and Information Security and Center for Cyber Forensics to form a new Center for Internet Security And Forensics Entrepreneurs (I-SAFE).

“Its mission is to research and develop cyber security and forensics theory, techniques and toolkits that will play a critical role in public safety and security response by enterprise campuses, federal and state law enforcement and national cyber-defense forces, including the military,” says Wang, who chairs the Department of Computer Science.

Wang serves as I-SAFE’s director while Assoc. Prof. Xinwen Fu is the associate director. Other faculty members of the center include Benyuan Liu, Cindy Chen, Tingjian Ge and Guanling Chen of Computer Science, Tricia Chigan of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Kyung Seok Choo of Criminal Justice.

Among I-SAFE’s major research focus are cloud authentication and query of encrypted storage, security and privacy of networks, mobile devices, databases and wireless and social networks, physical security via sensor networks, computer and network forensics and criminal justice and global studies.

A Showcase of Faculty Research and Community Service

Wang announced the creation of I-SAFE during a poster presentation at the Faculty Research Symposium and Recognition Reception held at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center in February.

The annual event, sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and co-hosted by Community Engagement, Service Learning and International Partnerships, recognized not only research done by the University’s faculty in 2011 and 2012, but also their publications, community engagement and service-learning awards, creative economy and science and technology funding, research expenditures, promotions and tenures, patents and inventions and innovative and creative works.

“We shifted the focus for this year’s poster session from individual posters to a more clustered informational event,” says Prof. Julie Chen, who is vice provost for research. “Our faculty had an opportunity to be informed by other faculty and staff members about various initiatives that they might be interested in connecting to, such as international partnerships, industry partnerships, co-ops and faculty research groups.”

For more information as well as photos and videos of the symposium.