CyberDawgs take first place at Kaizen Capture the Flag event

Earlier this week, UMBC CyberDawg Christopher Gardner took first place out of approximately fifty competitors at Booz Allen Hamilton's Kaizen Capture The Flag event held at the Jailbreak Brewing Company in Laurel, MD.

The event focused around navigating through a series of progressively harder cybersecurity obstacles. The challenge's theme centered around a narrative that competitiors were assisting the FBI in finding and then defusing a bomb. Competitors needed to complete a series of increasingly harder challenges to locate clues and other information, such as examining an Android .apk to find a wireless access point password, finding the login page for an website's administration panel, and gaining access to a web server's log directory.

Congratulations again to Christopher and to all of the CyberDawgs who competed!

Interested in joining the CyberDawgs? Contact Julio Valcarcel () for more information — they’re always looking for new members heading into the 2015-2016 season!

Rick Forno comments on CareFirst data breach

In today's Baltimore Sun, CSEE's Rick Forno offers some early thoughts on yesterday's announced data breach at CareFirst, which affects 1.1 million insurance customers.

According to company officials, attackers gained access to names, birth dates, email addresses and insurance identification numbers. However, the database did not include Social Security or credit card numbers, passwords or medical information.

The information also could be sold on what is known as the dark web, parts of the Internet that cannot be found by search engines, and combined with other data, said Richard Forno, director of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's graduate cybersecurity program.

"The information they got may or may not be useful directly, but it could help a bad guy get more clues about a person's identity," he said. "That could be useful to an adversary."

In many cases, data breaches can be larger than originally apparent, Forno added.

"As time goes on and the investigation continues, you never know if you'll find other leads that may change your initial assumptions," he said.

UMBC Game Developers Club Summer Game Jam, 5-7 June 2015

The UMBC Game Developers Club will hold its annual Summer Game Jam Friday, June 5 to Sunday June 7 in the GAIM lab in Engineering 005. The game jam theme is Art and Code out of a Hat.

There will be one "hat" from which a team will pull three random art assets, and another "hat" from which they will pull three random code samples. Then, the team must use as many of those six items as possible in their game!! Here's the catch: At some point, you'll have to decide on a game idea and form a team around it.

If you pull from the hats before you make the idea, you have to use four of the six items. If you pull from the hats after you form the idea and team, you only have to use two of the items. The team that receives an item is free to do whatever they want with the art and code they receive.

talk: Amit Sheth on Transforming Big data into Smart Data, 11a Tue 5/26

Transforming big data into smart data:
deriving value via harnessing volume, variety
and velocity using semantics and semantic web

Professor Amit Sheth
Wright State University

11:00am Tuesday, 26 May 2015, ITE 325, UMBC

Big Data has captured a lot of interest in industry, with the emphasis on the challenges of the four Vs of Big Data: Volume, Variety, Velocity, and Veracity, and their applications to drive value for businesses. In this talk, I will describe Smart Data that is realized by extracting value from Big Data, to benefit not just large companies but each individual. If my child is an asthma patient, for all the data relevant to my child with the four V-challenges, what I care about is simply, "How is her current health, and what are the risk of having an asthma attack in her current situation (now and today), especially if that risk has changed?" As I will show, Smart Data that gives such personalized and actionable information will need to utilize multimodal data and their metadata, use domain specific knowledge, employ semantics and intelligent processing, and go beyond traditional reliance on Machine Learning and NLP. I will motivate the need for a synergistic combination of techniques similar to the close interworking of the top brain and the bottom brain in the cognitive models. I will present a couple of Smart Data applications in development at Kno.e.sis from the domains of personalized health, health informatics, social data for social good, energy, disaster response, and smart city.

Amit Sheth is an Educator, Researcher and Entrepreneur. He is the LexisNexis Ohio Eminent Scholar, an IEEE Fellow, and the executive director of Kno.e.sis – the Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing a Wright State University. In World Wide Web (WWW), it is placed among the top ten universities in the world based on 10-year impact. Prof. Sheth is a well cited computer scientists (h-index = 87, >30,000 citations), and appears among top 1-3 authors in World Wide Web (Microsoft Academic Search). He has founded two companies, and several commercial products and deployed systems have resulted from his research. His students are exceptionally successful; ten out of 18 past PhD students have 1,000+ citations each.

Host: Yelena Yesha, yeyesha2umbc.edu

Professor Tulay Adali appointed UMBC Distinguished University Professor


CSEE faculty member Tulay Adali has been appointed as a Distinguished University Professor for UMBC. Professor Adali is being recognized for:

"…outstanding theoretical contributions to the field of signal processing that have enabled significant advances in medical imaging, and excellence in teaching and mentoring the next generation of engineers and scholars who continue to advance the field of signal processing."

Professor Adali started teaching at UMBC in 1992, the same year that she received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Shortly after joining UMBC, she began forging lasting collaborations, first locally, and then nationwide and internationally. This resulted in the steady buildup of a research program, with continuous and growing funding from major federal agencies, including the prestigious NSF CAREER grant, the U.S. Army, and industry. She took full advantage of UMBC’s advantageous position, with respect to proximity to major medical institutions. She moved her application domain to biomedical data analysis early in her career, where she helped define the field of data-driven image analysis and fusion, an area that continues to grow in importance. She is a very popular teacher and is mentor to an impressive number of Ph.D students, several of whom have assumed faculty positions at institutions such as Virginia Tech, the University of New Mexico, and Yale.

Professor Adali has been also active within her professional community, having chaired the Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP) Technical Committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and having served on a number of boards of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. She has also assisted in the organization of numerous international conferences and workshops, including the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), the IEEE International Workshop on Neural Networks for Signal Processing (NNSP), and the IEEE International Workshop on MLSP. She has been on the editorial boards of a number of transactions and journals and is currently serving on the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the IEEE, among others.

In addition, Professor Adali is a Fellow of the IEEE and the AIMBE, and has received the following awards: the 2010 IEEE Signal Processing Society Best Paper Award, the 2013 University System of Maryland Regents' Award for Research, and an NSF CAREER Award. She was also an IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer for 2012 and 2013.

talk: Kavita Krishnaswamy on Robotics for Independence, 7pm 5/20

CSEE Ph.D. student Kavita Krishnaswamy will give a talk entitled Robotics for Independence sponsored by Refresh Baltimore on May 20 at 7:00pm. The talk will be given at Betamore, 1111 Light Street in Baltimore. Refreshments at 6:30, RSVP online.

Robotics for Independence

Kavita Krishnaswamy

7:00pm Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Betamore, 1111 Light St., Baltimore

The future is here! In this talk, Kavita will discuss the development of robotic systems and how they provide assistance and increase independence for people with disabilities. Kavita will introduce several prototype robotic systems that support transferring, repositioning, and personal care, and focus on accessible user interfaces for control that are feasible for persons with severe disabilities.

Kavita Krishnaswamy is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County working with Dr. Tim Oates. As a professional researcher with a physical disability, Kavita is motivated by a powerful, innate force: autonomy is the soul of independent daily living that is achieved with the advancement of technology. She is both a Ford Foundation Predoctoral and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Kavita has worked at the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Center – Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT) in Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh and IBM Business consulting services.

Refresh Baltimore describes itself as "a community made up of sharp design and development professionals, creative minds and Baltimore technologists looking to learn from one another and apply critical thinking to the industry."

UMBC cybersecurity graduate programs online info session, 6pm 6/16

The UMBC Cybersecurity Graduate Program will hold a virtual information session at 6:00pm on June 16. Participate to learn about the  program options and find out how a master’s degree or graduate certificate can help you advance in the cybersecurity industry. During the online information session, graduate program director Richard Forno will discuss courses, credit requirements and prerequisites, and admissions processes.

The session will cover cybersecurity programs at both UMBC's Main Campus and UMBC-Shady Grove in Rockville, MD. It will provide an overview of our innovative curriculum, practice-oriented instruction and flexible class schedules, which are designed for working professionals.  You will also learn about admissions, curriculum, class format and the cybersecurity career outlook.

If you would like to participate in the information session, please RSVP online.

talk: Zieglar on Verifying Security Properties of Cryptographic Protocols, 5/15

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Verifying Security Properties of
Cryptographic Protocols with CPSA

Edward V. Zieglar Jr.
Analysis and Design Methods
DoD Trusted Systems Research Group

12-1pm, Friday, 15 May 2015, ITE 227

The design of cryptographic protocols with well understood properties is a difficult problem. Many simple cryptographic protocols that have been designed over the years by experienced designers have been found to have subtle flaws or incorrect assumptions that have led to attacks against them. Much effort has gone into the development of theories, techniques and tools to formally analysis the security properties of cryptographic protocols in an attempt to identify and eliminate such security flaws. This talk will address basic paradigms used in the analysis and verification of the security properties of cryptographic protocols, discuss efforts to develop tools to assist designers in developing protocols with verifiable security properties and demonstrate one such tool, the Cryptographic Protocol Shapes Analyzer (CPSA), available at https://hackage.haskell.org/package/cpsa.

Opportunity for students to attend cybersecurity conference at JHU/APL June 17

The GovConnect conference seeks college sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in cybersecurity to apply for free admission to its showcase event:

   GovConnects' 6th Annual Cyber Conference: Migration to the Cloud:
   Vulnerabilities and Challenges/ Opportunities and Solutions
   Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Kossiakoff Center, 
   Wednesday, 17 June 2015, 9:00-5:00

Resumes are currently being accepted by GovConnects for a one day internship that provides free attendance.  Participation options: 8:00am–12:00noon or 12:00noon — 4:00 pm.
GovConnects, a program of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, is the organizer of this event. Over 300 industry and government professionals are expected to attend the all-day conference. Student interns will be provided with breakfast and lunch. Parking is free and there is no charge for internship participants.
Keynote speakers are Dmitri Alperovitch, Co- Founder and CTO of CrowdStrike Inc., and LTG (R) Rhett Hernandez, Chair, Army Cyber Institute.  The conference has multiple paths of interest including breakout sessions in Mobile IT, Insider Threat, Health IT, and FedRAMP. Interns will be able to attend a breakout session of choice and have access to the who's who of the conference cyber speakers. Tech Talks will feature new products and ideas pitched by companies and judged by a panel of industry experts including representatives from Leidos, Ciena, Honeywell, Dell Federal, and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
Cyber 6.0 is an excellent opportunity for technical candidates (For example, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering, but not limited to these fields.) to meet and interact with industry and federal government officials. Conference sponsors have agreed to review internsÕ resumes for potential employment eligibility, if interested.
Several sponsors have current programs in place that support technical students close to graduation in obtaining federal clearances.
The opportunity to attend the conference, gain valuable information about the trends/forecasts for cybersecurity issues and technology, and meet companies, speakers and potential employers is a day well spent!
If you are interested in attending, explore the conference details and send your resume to Tom Sabia, Conference Intern Coordinator at   or

Prof. Matuszek interviewed by CBC Radio about research

CSEE professor Cynthia Matuszek was interviewed on her research on gender bias in online images associated with occupations by the CBC Spark radio program on technology trends.

The research was published in a recent paper, Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations, that was recognized as a best paper in the 2015 ACM CHI Conference. This conference is considered the most prestigious in the field of human–computer interaction, and is one of the top ranked computer science conferences.

Professor Matuszek does research on robotics and natural language processing and combines these two interests to build better human-robot interaction systems and to study the underlying problem of grounded language acquisition, i.e., how robots (and people!) can extract semantically meaningful representations of human language by mapping those representations to the noisy, unpredictable physical world in which they operate.