PhD student Sandra Kopecky to present cybersecurity paper at London Computing Conference

PhD student Sandra Kopecky will be presenting her paper “Cyber Security Paradox from a User’s View Point” at Computing Conference in London this summer.

The conference, sponsored by IEEE, will see Sandra presenting her work to an international audience of peers. The publication of the paper will fulfil one of the dissertation requirements and put Sandra one step closer to earning her Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science.

“I was ecstatic to receive acceptance notice,” Sandra said. “This is an SAI-IEEE conference, and I’m going to be presenting my paper along with others in a session at this conference. Wow!! I haven’t done that before.”

Given that Sandra was the sole author of the paper, having it accepted for publication and presentation at the conference is a big deal.

“I’ve been on various panels discussing cyber security, women in the engineering/computer field, my view point as a college student – at various levels, and my background. But never to present my work,” Sandra said.

So why did Sandra choose a unique topic like cybersecurity from a user’s point of view?

“There is much written and researched, however the point of view is almost always from a company’s point of view and the user just has to accept it, no questions asked,” Sandra explained. “Cybersecurity affects everyone in every field across the board. I decided to look at this from a different point of view: that of the user. This paper is the beginnings of that broader topic.”

Sounds like a great paper – the idea of ‘user first’ is no stranger to user experience and human-computer interaction, and it’s certainly interesting to hear about one of our students considering the user’s viewpoint when it comes to cybersecurity, too. Enjoy the conference, Sandra, and we can’t wait to hear about it when you get back!

Seidenberg rocks the 2017 Women in Cybersecurity conference

A team of Seidenberg students and faculty jetted to Tucson, Arizona, for the fourth Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference, which took place on March 31-April 2, 2017. Seidenberg students applied for and obtained travel scholarships from Cisco, Facebook, as well as the Pace CyberCorps program in order to attend this event.

This year, around 800 cybersecurity including students, academics, and industry professionals attended the conference for technical workshops, career advice sessions, mentoring and networking, inspirational keynote talks, and a career fair. Some of the companies in attendance included Google, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, AT&T, Bank of America, and the U.S. intelligence.

Who was on the Seidenberg School team? Students Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Siobhan Kiernan (MS/CS’19), Kaitlyn – Kait- Bestenheider (MS/CS’19), Adriana Aluia (BS/IT’17) and Elizabeth – Lizzie- Molloy (BBA/IS’18), as well as faculty Dr. Li-Chiou Chen, Dr. Pauline Mosley, and Andreea Cotoranu attended.

The Seidenberg team wasn’t just at the conference to take it in – they were active participants. On the conference’s GenCyber day, which was filled with activities designed for high school students, the team hosted a Cyber Arcade. The arcade is a set of five challenges: cyber jeopardy, raspberry pi puzzle, cryptography with cipher wheel, mini-drones, and password strength. Seventy-five high-school students and teachers from the Tucson, AZ area attended the arcade, designed and run by Drs. Chen and Mosley with assistance from the entire Seidenberg team.

Seidenberg was also represented on the conference main stage! Norissa Lamaute gave a lightning talk on Musical Cryptography. Norissa’s research implements musical theory to create a consonant cipher that allows for the exchange of secret messages. This project also includes the work of Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16) and is advised by Dr. Chen and Andreea Cotoranu.

“The Women in Cybersecurity conference is always a greatly inspiring experience,” said Adriana Aluia. “This is the second year I’ve attended and every time I leave with new friends and connections.”

Kait Bestenheider added that “the opportunity to meet with so many successful women in a field where women make up only 11% of the demographic was simply amazing. While sometimes we might be the only woman in the room, there were almost a thousand of those women in the same room . . . This is a network of women ready to inspire and lead other women to their own success.” Kait covered her experience in her blog, Kait Tech.

Lizzie Molloy also found inspiration at the conference. “My WiCyS experience is something very hard to put into words, not because it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was everything I was expecting and more. […] One of my biggest takeaways from this event was the strong bond I createed with my fellow colleagues. [Together] we realized we can do things we always wanted to do and more. This experience has helped me shape my academic and professional future in many ways. There are more experiences and opportunities available that I never thought were even possible.”

Now that the 2017 WiCyS concluded, we have just started preparing for the 2018 event! We look to continue Seidenberg’s legacy of WiCyS engagement by presenting in the poster session, giving talks and hosting workshops at the 2018 WiCyS in Chicago, IL. If you have an interest in cybersecurity or you are currently working on research projects in cybersecurity, we would like to speak to you. Contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (acotoranu@pace.edu) with questions.

Alumnus David Kelly speaks at Big Data Innovator Series

November is Big Data month, and we’ve been working hard to demonstrate how important (and cool) big data is in many ways – one of which is the Big Data Innovator Series taking place here at Seidenberg.

The series is a collection of talks and interviews with Seidenberg alumni who work with big data. There are three talks – two in November and one in December – and we strongly encourage our students to attend!

The first event took place on Wednesday November 9th in the Seidenberg Lounge at 163 William St. The speaker was David Kelly (MS Information Systems ’94), and he spoke to an incredible turnout of 120 students! David is the CIO and co-chief operating officer at Pine River Capital Management, so he had a lot of great advice to share with our students interested in going into the financial world.

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In an interview with Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill, David spoke about his career, things he had learned, and what he looked for when interviewing candidates for a particular job. “I’m going to assume you know how to code,” he said about his expectations of potential employees. “Going to school in lower Manhattan also shows that you’ve got character.”

He added that internships and travel, particularly international travel, were all good signs, and that if a student has “a cool and unique background . . . the interviewer will like finding a connection.”

One of David’s most important pieces of advice to students was showing a willingness to work hard and to learn, even if you are asked to do something that you don’t know or that isn’t included in your job description. “Show willingness to do what you’re asked to do,” he said.

“Be flexible. Do as they ask you to do. Over time you become regarded as a well-rounded person. Don’t have a deterministic view of what your job should be. Don’t be religious with technology – there’s a classic trick question we like to use: do you prefer using Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel? The correct answer is that it doesn’t matter – if you’re religious about one type of technology, it can hinder you.”

David also had some insights into the big data and cybersecurity fields, saying that the job prospects in cybersecurity were going to be just as good in 2019 as they are now.

“I think they are converging,” David said of big data and cybersecurity. “A lot of security solutions are out there . . . but how do you stitch all of these different solutions together? Real time analysis – that’s where big data comes in.”

We really enjoyed having David visit for our Big Data Innovator Series and would like to extend a big thank you to David and to organizer Deth Sao.

Next up is Jason Molfetas, the CIO of Amtrak!

Student post: East Coast Cyberattack poses the question: Are we truly safe?

On Friday October 21st, at around 7:10am EST, many internet users from all over the country lost connection to many commonly used sites in an attack that rippled across the country from east to west. The company was able to restore service a few hours later but then had to shut down at around noon. By this time, the hackers had started to make their journey to the West coast.

What happened? There was a huge attack on one major provider of the Domain Name System, Dyn Inc., which resulted in them taking down a few popular sites such as Netflix and Spotify (to name a few). Oh the horror!!!!

Kyle York, who is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of Dyn, said the hackers launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack using tons of malware – infected devices connected to the internet. According to their records, this is the third attack they have experienced this year.

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A DDoS can be achieved in a number of ways, but usually involves a distributed network of  “zombie” machines, referred to as botnets. A botnet is formed with computers and other connected devices in homes or offices infected with vicious code which, upon a hacker’s request, can take over a web server with data. One or two machines wouldn’t be an issue, but if tens or hundreds of thousands fire such data simultaneously, it can impair even the best of web servers.

By Friday evening, the attacks were stopped and all was right in the world again.

Unfortunately, security professionals are anticipating more cyber attacks centered around the Internet of Things (IoT). This assumption was made after a hacker released a software code that powers the malware, called Mirai, just a few weeks prior.

A padlock is displayed at the Alert Logic booth during the 2016 Black Hat cyber-security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. August 3, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker

“I have never seen severity this big, impacting so many sites and lasting over such a prolonged period of time,” said Dave Anderson, the vice president of marketing at Dynatrace LLC. “It just shows how vulnerable and interconnected the world is, and when something happens in one region, it impacts every other region.”

Cybersecurity is an ever growing concern across the globe. As hackers become more and more sophisticated, they constantly change their tactics to overcome security measures in place by companies and organizations. This causes an issue where cybersecurity professionals are forced to respond to attacks as they happen rather than prevent them entirely – no matter what security measures are in place, dedicated hackers are focused on finding a way to beat the ‘challenge’. As a result, the cybersecurity industry is constantly on the look out for talented professionals.

Seidenberg hosts cybersecurity programs for high school teachers and students

20160722_140351Recently, the Seidenberg School welcomed teachers and high school students from 10 states for free training as part of an NSA grant to promote K-12 cybersecurity education.

The programs invited participants to visit Pace University’s Pleasantville campus for a week of cybersecurity education training. 25 high school teachers attended the first session, and 30 high school students the second. Since there’s plenty to cover, this post is all about the GenCyber teachers’ workshop and you’ll just have to wait for the next post to hear about Camp Cyberbot!

“The GenCyber summer programs aim to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by preparing our educators and by getting young students interested in the cybersecurity area, which is one of strengths of the Seidenberg School at Pace University,” said Professor Li-Chiou Chen, the principal investigator of the project.

One of the attendees, Nathan VanDyke, a high school math and computer science teacher from Minnesota, said: “This is really a whole new world for us. Cybersecurity will be a major area of study and we need to prepare our students for this field.’’

20160722_141234VanDyke was one of 25 high school teachers from 10 states who were at Pace University from July 14-22 to attend a program at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. The school is the only one in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) to host the teachers’ cybercamp as a part of the national GenCyber program funded by the National Security Agency to promote cybersecurity education at the K-to-12 level.

Teachers were introduced to Raspberry Pi, a tiny, inexpensive computer that makes it easier to teach computing concepts, such as encryption and programming in the classroom. 

After the GenCyber workshop’s conclusion, participants were awarded with certificates of completion.

Next post, we’re talking about the second session, Camp Cyberbot, which saw high school students building underwater SeaPerch robots and testing them in the PLV campus pond!

Seidenberg professors organize IEEE CSCloud/SSC 2016 in Beijing, China

Dr. Meikang Qiu of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems recently organized two conferences that were held in Beijing, China.

Prof. Qiu deliveries “Certificate of Appreciation” to Ohio State University Prof. Xiaodong Zhang
Prof. Qiu presents “Certificate of Appreciation” to Ohio State University Prof. Xiaodong Zhang

The 3rd annual IEEE International Conference on Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing and the 2nd annual IEEE International Conference of Scalable and Smart Cloud (SSC 2016) took place on June 25-27 at at Beihang University in China.

This academic event is a great gathering for scholars and professionals in the fields of cybersecurity, cloud computing, and smart computing. More than 60 delegates attended from more than 10 countries.

Professor Qiu served as the General Chair for both conferences, and also gave a talk entitled Proactive User-Centric Attribute-Based Semantic Access Control for a Mobile Cloud.

Prof. Qiu deliveries “Certificate of Appreciation” to Princeton University Prof. Sun-Yuan Kung
Prof. Qiu presents “Certificate of Appreciation” to Princeton University Prof. Sun-Yuan Kung

Dr. Lixin Tao, the Chair of the Computer Science Department (PLV) also attended the conference. Seidenberg faculty and PhD and DPS students at Seidenberg presented their recent research work, including 14 conference papers.

World famous professors Sun-Yuan Kung (Princeton University, IEEE Fellow) and Xiaodong Zhang (Ohio State University, IEEE/ACM Fellow) also exciting keynotes on Cloud Computing and Big Data.

Pace University was a major sponsor of the conference – and we are already looking forward to next year!