University of Missouri to Use Smartphones for Cybersecurity – GovTech


(TNS) — A smartphone or other smart device that learns about cyber attacks and takes action to defend itself against them is what University of Missouri associate professor Prasad Calyam is pursuing with a $500,000 National Security Agency grant.

Calyam is in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and serves as director of the MU Center for Cyber Education, Research and Infrastructure.

The two-year grant is to develop a flexible feature for phones and devices that doesn’t require human action, but protects against and responds to threats of cyber attacks on its own, Calyam said.

Cyber attacks on devices may flow through home routers or other devices. Attackers have taken control of home Internet routers to launch attacks against Internet providers, he said.

“Home routers can be compromised,” Calyam said.

All smartphones have some security capability, he said.

“We are trying to go a step further,” Calyam said.

That can be done through machine learning, he said.

There are risks to having too little or too much security on a phone, tablet or other device, Calyam said.

“The attack landscape is always changing,” he said. “A one-time fix is not going to solve it.”

The changing landscape makes his task in researching a solution difficult, he said.

“It’s a complicated problem,” he said. “We’re talking about securing distributed systems.”

The research is meant to minimize the threats to smart devices, he said.

“How can we find a way to automate the device management?” he said. “We’re doing this to make it automated and scalable.”

Though once a secretive government agency, Calyam said the NSA is very active in promoting private security.

Calyam is collaborating on the two-year grant with Jianli Pan, associate professor of computer science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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