News 2013: UMass Dartmouth Students & Faculty Keep Focus on Cyber Security

News 2013: UMass Dartmouth Students & Faculty Keep Focus on Cyber Security
UMass Dartmouth Students & Faculty Keep Focus on Cyber Security

Cyber Security Remains an Academic and Research Focus for UMass Dartmouth's Faculty and Students

As National Cyber Security Awareness Month comes to a close this week, cyber security remains an academic and research focus for UMass Dartmouth's faculty and students. 

In September, UMass Dartmouth students and faculty from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) attended Governor Deval Patrick's Cyber Aces Championship kickoff in Boston. Following the launch, students take part in three online competitions, focused on high-demand industry areas of cyber security and also match the courses offered to ECE students at UMass Dartmouth. Top performers in these tests earn an invitation to the state championship, held in May. On October 15, UMass Dartmouth students competed in Module 1 of Cyber Aces and earned high rankings statewide and nationally. 

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Hong Liu, who attended the Cyber Aces event with her students, has spent more than a decade focused on cyber security and expanding educational opportunity to students in this growing important field. Following the September 11 attacks, Dr. Liu, obtained a grant from the Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI) to develop a network security course. The course was first offered in Spring 2002 to undergraduate senior and graduate students of Computer Engineering programs at UMass Dartmouth. 

The course has since been offered every other year to not only to ECE students, but also students from the departments of Mathematics and Computer Information Science as well. Over the years, many students from the course, jointly with Professor Liu, published papers on referred journals and professional conferences. 

CITI renewed Professor Liu's grant for the second term jointly with UMass Amherst. This collaboration helped establish the Network Security Laboratory at UMass Dartmouth with a new Internet testbed. Following the creation of the lab, UMass Dartmouth has worked jointly with other universities and colleges, such as Bunker Hill Community College and Harvard University, to secure additional federal funds from the U.S. Department of Defense to further support research and academic opportunity for students. 

Dr. Lance Fiondella is one of the newest UMass Dartmouth faculty who joined the ECE department this fall. His research interests include software reliability and the protection of critical infrastructure, both cyber and physical. As a PhD student at the University of Connecticut, he conducted research for the Center for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Transportation Security Center of Excellence. In 2010 he participated in the "Greenfield" Aviation Security Workshop, co-sponsored by the DHS and the United Kingdom Home Office. 

In 2011, Dr. Fiondella was invited speaker at the DHS Student Day, held in conjunction with the DHS Summit in Washington, DC, where he presented his research on the optimal deployment and protection of high-speed rail. He has published more than 10 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers on topics related to transportation network vulnerability, including Security and Performance Analysis of Passenger Screening for Mass-transit Systems, recipient of the best paper award from the Attack and Disaster Preparation, Recovery and Response Track at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security. He has also published over 35 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers on topics relating to software and system reliability.