Wearable electronics, which includes devices like fitness trackers and smart watches, is a rapidly growing industry that promises to connect the real and digital lives of consumers. As the technology evolves, researchers have been challenged to improve the safety and quality of data transfer to and from wearable electronics. Anupam Joshi, cybersecurity, spoke to Nature about the security concerns raised by this emerging technology.
“With wearables… we truly are entering into a new era, and we have to start thinking of these issues,” Joshi declared. He shared how UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity is working on privacy issues related to wearable technology by creating an app to block out the faces of people who have requested privacy from Google Glass photographs. However, the technology could only reliably provide privacy if manufacturers implement it with dedicated hard ware, Joshi said. “Let’s say that Google was to build in a feature like this into every Google Glass so that it would automatically obey these kinds of commands — then it would work.”
Read “What could derail the wearables revolution?” in Nature.
As Ashley Madison experienced a widespread data breach this week, Anupam Joshi and Richard Forno, cybersecurity, spoke to the media about Internet security and how the leak will affect high profile users in Washington, D.C.
In an interview with ABC2, Joshi cautioned that data breaches are increasingly becoming part of daily life. “Information is valuable,” he said. “People are after information. No security is perfect and once you marry these things, there is an incentive for someone to spend the right time and effort to steal some information.” He also spoke about users falling into a false sense of security. “Nothing is really secure on the Internet,” he warned. “If you don’t want the thing you’re doing to show up on ABC2 at some point then don’t do it.”
Forno spoke to Beta Boston and TV Newsroom about public reactions as the data breach revealed several government officials as users of the website. “Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get two wildly different opinions on the issue,” he said. “Some people will say, `Well, they broke the law, they hacked into this private company’s computers and stole data.’ Yeah, that’s true. But from the other side, you have to say, were they doing this for a public service?”
Richard Forno, assistant director for UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, was recently in American City and County to discuss government recruitment of cybersecurity practitioners. American City and County is a magazine that features stories of interest to state and local government officials.
In the article, Forno recommends that governments look for cybersecurity professionals with a combination of technical and soft skills. “You need people that have the right mix of technical talent and the ability to apply that talent effectively in the workplace,” he said.
Click here to read “Hunting cybersecurity talent” in American City and County.
The Washington Post reported on a new partnership between Northrop Grumman and UMBC that explores using cybersecurity tools to analyze health data.
Yelena Yesha, computer science and electrical engineering, is leading the project and commented on the partnership, saying that they plan to evaluate millions of patient records. Tools originally developed to examine cyberthreats and security risks will be used to go through the data. This will allow the researchers to examine a large amount of data to see trends in conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Click here to read “Northrop Grumman, UMBC team to study health data for populations” in The Washington Post.
Earlier this year HP and the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) selected Victoria Lentz ’15, cybersecurity, and 10 other female cybersecurity students from across the U.S. to receive scholarships.
Lentz was in the first “cohort” of students to be accepted into UMBC’s Cyber Scholars Program, which began in Fall 2013. The program prides itself on influencing minorities and women to become involved in the cyber security and computing industries. With particular interests in malware and digital forensics, Lentz plans to work in the cybersecurity industry after finishing her undergraduate education to gain experience before returning to school for a Master’s degree.
On June 24, UMBC signed a memorandum of understanding with Kyushu University to promote academic and research cooperation between the two universities.The partnership will allow faculty and student exchanges and joint research projects, focusing on cybersecurity initially.
Provost Phillip Rous commented on the partnership, saying, “The academic agreement signed between UMBC and KU articulates our universities’ shared vision and intention to collaborate broadly in both research and education.”
Click here to read a full description of the agreement and here to read an article about the partnership in the Baltimore Business Journal.
CSEE’s Dr. Rick Forno, Cybersecurity GPD and Assistant Director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity, was a guest on WEAA’s ‘The Marc Steiner Show’ where he joined Dr. Lisa Yeo of Loyola University in discussing cybersecurity issues and best practices in light of recent high-profile data breaches such as those at the University of Maryland, Target, and Indiana University.
Listen to the segment here.