talk: Psychometric Evaluation of the Cybersecurity Concept Inventory, 12-1 Fri 9/18


The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents


Psychometric Evaluation of the Cybersecurity Concept Inventory


Seth Poulsen

Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

12:00noon–1pm, Friday, September 18, 2020

https://umbc.webex.com/meet/sherman

Joint work with Geoffrey Herman, Alan Sherman, Linda Oliva, Peter Peterson, Enis Golaszewski, Travis Scheponik, and Akshita Gorti.

We present a psychometric evaluation of a revised version of the Cybersecurity Concept Inventory (CCI) completed by 355 students from 29 colleges and universities. The CCI is a conceptual test of understanding created to enable research on instruction quality in cybersecurity education. This work extends previous expert review and small-scale pilot testing of the CCI. Results show that the CCI aligns with a curriculum many instructors expect from an introductory cybersecurity course, and that it is a valid and reliable tool for assessing what cybersecurity conceptual knowledge students learned.

Seth Poulsen is a PhD candidate in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I’m interested in Computing Education, Programming Language design and implementation, Math Education, and any interesting intersections of the above. Previously, he was a Software Engineer at Amazon.com, working on Kindle Web Rendering and the Kindle Lite Android app. email: ,

Support for this research was provided in part by the U.S. Department of Defense under CAE-R grants H98230-15-1-0294, H98230-15-1-0273, H98230-17-1-0349, H98230-17-1-0347; and by the National Science Foundation under UMBC SFS grants DGE-1241576, 1753681, and SFS Capacity Grants DGE-1819521, 1820531. For more on the educational Cybersecurity Assessment Tools (CATS) Project: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.05248.pdf

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays 12-1pm. All meetings are open to the public. Upcoming CDL Meetings:

  • Oct. 2, TBA [possibly: security of payment infrastructure]
  • Oct. 16, TBA [possibly: Jonathan Katz (GMU)]
  • Oct. 30, TBA
  • Nov. 13, TBA, [possibly: David R Imbordino (NSA), Security of the 2020 presidential election]
  • Dec. 11, TBA, [possibly: Peter A. H. Peterson (Univ. of Minnesota Duluth), Adversarial Thinking]

talk: Matt Green on Privacy-Preserving Cryptographic Protocols, 12-1 EDT Fri. 9/4, online

 

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents


Privacy-Preserving Cryptographic Protocols 


Professor Matthew Green
Johns Hopkins University

12:00-1:00 pm Friday, 4 September 2020
WebEx: http://umbc.webex.com/meet/sherman
  


We investigate the problem of automating the development of adaptive chosen-ciphertext attacks on systems that contain vulnerable format oracles. Rather than simply automate the execution of known attacks, we consider a more challenging problem: to programmatically derive a novel attack strategy, given only a machine-readable description of the plaintext verification function and the malleability characteristics of the encryption scheme. We present a new set of algorithms that use SAT and SMT solvers to reason deeply over the design of the system, producing an automated attack strategy that can decrypt protected messages entirely.

Matthew Green is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. His research includes techniques for privacy-enhanced information storage, anonymous payment systems, and bilinear map- based cryptography. He is one of the creators of the Zerocash protocol, which is used by the Zcash cryptocurrency, and a founder of an encryption startup Zeutro. He was formerly a partner in Independent Security Evaluators, a custom security evaluation and design consultancy, and currently consults independently. From 1999-2003, he served as a senior technical staff member at AT&T Laboratories/Research in Florham Park, NJ. email: Dr. Green writes a popular blog on applied cryptography, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering


Host: Alan T. Sherman,, Support for this event was provided in part by the NSF under SFS grant DGE-1753681. The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public. Upcoming CDL Meetings:

  • The Cyber Defense Lab hosts biweekly talks on Fridays 12-1pm.

UMBC’s Naghmeh Karimi receives NSF CAREER Award to develop long-lasting security for cryptographic chips

 

Naghmeh Karimi receives NSF CAREER award to develop long-lasting security for cryptographic chips

 

Naghmeh Karimi is the most recent UMBC faculty member to receive a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant, totaling approximately $500,000 over five years, will support her work to investigate how device-aging related risks compromise the security of cryptographic devices.

Karimi explains that cryptographic chips offer continued advances in authenticating messages and devices as well as preserving the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information. They do so by implementing cryptographic algorithms in hardware. These chips combine the benefits of cryptographic applications with the speed and power advantage of hardware implementations. 

Despite their significant benefits, cryptographic chips can be compromised by adversaries who have gained physical access to the chips. Current protections against such attacks do not consider the aging of devices, which can shift device parameters over time.

Addressing security vulnerabilities 

Aging makes cryptographic chips operate slower and, ultimately, results in their malfunction, says Karimi. She explains that the typical lifetime of integrated circuits is 7 to 8 years. As the devices age, their performance decreases. Karimi is exploring the specific security vulnerabilities of aged devices and how they can be protected.

“We want to preserve the security of devices over their lifetime,” Karimi says.

Karimi and her research team will study whether the success of the side-channel analysis and fault-injection attacks increase in older devices. Karimi will create and test several countermeasures to protect devices against such attacks.

Connecting students with opportunities in tech security

The CAREER Award funding will support several UMBC undergraduate and graduate student researchers working with Karimi to develop long-lasting security solutions for hardware platforms. 

At the same time, Karimi will also develop and launch a new course in UMBC’s computer science and electrical engineering department on cryptography, hardware security, and testing. She will also work with the UMBC Cyber Scholars Program to connect students with internship opportunities focused on hardware security, to give them additional hands-on experience in the field. 

“The success of this project will enable us to develop long-lasting security for trusted hardware platforms,” Karimi says. “This will result in aging-resistant security solutions that benefit society through devices that remain secure over their lifetime.”


Adapted from a UMBC News article by Megan Hanks. Banner image: UMBC’s ITE building. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

CyberCorps SFS Spring Meeting at UMBC

Scholarship for Service
The Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program is designed to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of Federal, State, local, and tribal government.

CyberCorps SFS Spring Meeting at UMBC

 

10:00am-2:00pm Friday, 22 May 2020
Open to the public
via: https://umbc.webex.com/meet/sherman

 

UMBC’s Spring CyberCorps Scholarship for Service meeting will take place from 10 am to 2 pm on Friday, 22 May 2020. It will feature a discussion with Dr. Dan Guernsey (NSA) on Ghidra, Software Reverse Engineering, and Cybersecurity Careers at NSA, presentations by SFS students, and a hands-on Capture the Flag exercise.

10:00-10:30 Student presentations
Scholarship for Service (SFS) students from UMBC, Montgomery College (MC), and Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) will present their results solving IT security problems for their universities, county governments, and local companies. This activity is part of a pioneering program centered at UMBC to extend SFS scholarships to community college students. In January 2020, all SFS scholars at UMBC, PGCC, and MC worked collaboratively to analyze the security of a custom shadow-IT software application to query research grant information

10:30-11:30 Discussion with Dr. Dan Guernsey (NSA)
Learn about Ghidra, software reverse engineering, and cybersecurity careers at NSA. Ghidra is a software reverse engineering framework developed by NSA’s Research Directorate for NSA’s cybersecurity mission. It helps analyze malicious code and malware like viruses, and can give cybersecurity professionals a better understanding of potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems (GitHub).

11:30-12:30 Lunch and discussion among attendees

12:30-2:00 Hands-on cyber defense exercise
Sharpen your cybersecurity skills by participating in a hands-on Capture the Flag exercise developed by the UMBC Cyber Dawgs and Cyrus Bonyadi, an SFS scholar and a member of the Cyber Dawgs, whose cyberdefense team won first place at the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC) in April 2020 and is competing in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC).

 


 

Participants and organizers

Dr. Dan Guernsey earned the Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Tulsa. Since 2011, he worked at the Department of Defense as a Computer Scientist and Architectures Researcher. During his studies at Tulsa, Dr. Guernsey contracted with the DoD Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and local law firms. He performed reverse engineering and authored software analysis tools for product evaluation and digital forensics. His work helped solve criminal cases and helped resolve civil disputes involving software copyrights. Dr. Guernsey is an Adjunct Instructor at UMBC in the graduate Cybersecurity Program.

Host Alan T. Sherman () is a professor of computer science and Director of the UMBC Center for Information Security and Assurance, which center is responsible for UMBC’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Cyber Defense Research.

Richard Forno is a senior lecturer, Director of the UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Program, and Assistant Director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity.

Casey W. O’Brien is Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National CyberWatch Center, Prince George’s Community College.

Joe Roundy is the Cybersecurity Program Manager at Montgomery College, Germantown.

Support for this event is provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681 and by the Department of Defense under CySP grant H98230-19-1-0308.

talk: Identifying and Addressing Concerning Behavior in the Digital Age, 12-1 Fri 5/8

two secret service agents confer

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Identifying and Addressing Concerning
Behavior in the Digital Age

 

Jason W. Wells
Graduate Student, Cybersecurity MPS
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

12:00–1pm Friday, 8 May 2020, webex

 

The United States Secret Service (USSS) is widely known as the premier law enforcement agency that is charged with protecting some of the most important political figures in the world. Some of these protectees include the President of the United States, the Vice-President, the First Family and Second Family, and Heads of State visiting the United States, to name a few. A major part of the protective mission of the USSS is focused around “protective intelligence,” where agents are trained to identify concerning and threatening behavioral indicators in others, and then to address those issues in a proactive and positive manner and ensure that the community is safe from harm. This proactive methodology has been researched and applied for decades and has a very high rate of success. Now, other law enforcement agencies throughout the country have started to apply this training to their agents and officers. Can these methodologies be used and/or modified to recognize threats in cyberspace as well?


Jason Wells is a former special agent with the United States Secret Service, where he served for nine years from 2005 – 2014. During that time, Mr. Wells was extensively trained in identifying and addressing threat-related and concerning behavioral indicators, and how to address those behaviors in a positive and proactive manner. In 2016, Mr. Wells published his first book Our Path to Safety: A U.S. Secret Service Agent’s Guide to Creating Safe Communities (ISBN-13: 978-0-9982488-0-6) on how the community can identify these behavioral conditions in the same way that federal law enforcement does every day. Mr. Wells earned his undergraduate degree from the Virginia Military Institute and his first graduate degree from Henley-Putnam University in Strategic Security and Protection Management in 2014. Additionally, Mr. Wells has published 11 editorial articles in print media on improving safety and security methodologies in schools and businesses. Currently, he is an SFS scholarship graduate student at UMBC with plans to complete his degree in spring 2020. He and his wife, Blythe, have two children and have lived in Baltimore County since 2008.


Host: Alan T. Sherman, Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681. The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public. Upcoming CDL Meetings: May 22, Spring SFS Meeting at UMBC, 9:30am-2pm, via WebEx.

talk: Cybersecurity during COVID-19 and other emergencies, 12-1 Tue May 5

talk: Cybersecurity during COVID-19 and other emergencies, 12-1 Tue May 5

The UMBC Center for Cybersecurity (UCYBR) Presents

Cybersecurity during COVID-19 and other emergencies

Dr. Richard Forno
Senior Lecturer, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering
Director, UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Program & Assistant Director, UMBC Center for Cybersecurity

12–1 pm Tuesday, 5 May 2020
online via webex

‘Cyber’ touches many, if not all, parts of society and organizations. However, even in 2020, cybersecurity often still is seen as exclusively a function of IT and not a function of enterprise mission assurance or operational resiliency. Accordingly, operational performance can be compromised by a failure to consider, if not embrace, cybersecurity principles and concerns during crisis planning – which can significantly impede effective crisis response and incident management during actual events and make a bad situation even worse. This talk will discuss the role of cybersecurity and cybersecurity thinking within crisis management and incident handling, with a particular emphasis on maintaining operational resiliency and mission assurance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Dr. Richard Forno is a Senior Lecturer in the UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, where he directs the UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Program and serves as the Assistant Director of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity. Prior to joining UMBC in 2010, his twenty-year career in operational cybersecurity spanned the government, military, and private sector, including helping build a formal cybersecurity program for the US House of Representatives, serving as the first Chief Security Officer for Network Solutions (then, the global center of the internet DNS system), consulting to Fortune 100 companies, and more. From 2005-12 he was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught courses on incident handling for the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC).

UMBC Cyber Dawgs rank #1 among university teams at annual Capture the Flag event

 

UMBC Cyber Dawgs #1 among university
teams at annual Capture the Flag event

 

The UMBC Cyber Dawgs ranked #1 among university teams in a challenging cybersecurity competition hosted virtually by the University of Maryland, College Park on April 18. 

The Capture the Flag event was designed to test teams’ abilities to solve a variety of realistic cybersecurity problems. UMBC went head to head with more than 300 teams from both colleges and industry, placing third overall and #1 among the universities.

Charles Nicholas, professor of computer science and electrical engineering and a Cyber Dawgs faculty advisor, says that the team’s win shows how well-prepared UMBC students are for careers in cybersecurity, and how committed they are to excelling in intercollegiate competition. “It speaks volumes about our students, their enthusiasm, and their character,” he says.

Reflecting on the Cyber Dawgs’ #3 overall finish, Nicholas shares, “The teams that beat us are made up of experienced cyber professionals, who do this sort of work for a living.” To end the competition as the leading university team and trailing just two professional teams was quite a feat, he notes, saying, “Our faculty and our university are very proud of these students.”

The Cyber Dawgs recently won the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. They are preparing for the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which will be held virtually in May.

Adapted from a UMBC News article written by Megan Hanks. Banner image: A person typing on a computer. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

UMBC Cyber Dawgs win Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

 

UMBC Cyber Dawgs win Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

 

Last weekend, the UMBC Cyber Dawgs took first place in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC), which was held virtually. UMBC’s team was one of eight that participated in the competition, fighting to protect their networks efficiently and effectively from simulated cyber threats and attacks. The team topped Penn State; the University of Maryland, College Park; and University of Virginia, which won the national championship for the past two years.

UMBC’s Cyber Dawgs will move on to compete in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC). Due to COVID-19, the competition will be held remotely this year.

How does the competition work?

These regional and national competitions attract leading collegiate cybersecurity teams from across the nation. They put teams in situations that mimic scenarios they might encounter working to secure and protect online systems for government agencies and companies. Throughout each challenge, teammates work together to protect their systems from hackers and cyber attacks. At the same time, they keep their networks accessible to the users relying on them. 

Meet the team

The MACCDC was about 14 hours long, and was held over two days. During the competition, the teams were not permitted to interact with their coaches Charles Nicholas, professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE), and Rick Forno, senior lecturer in CSEE.

The winning UMBC team included Anna Staats ‘20, computer science; RJ Joyce ‘18, M.S. ‘20, computer science; Cyrus Bonyadi, Ph.D. ‘23, computer science; Drew Barrett ‘20, computer science; Seamus Burke ‘20, computer science; Henry Budris ‘22, computer science; Chris Skane ‘21, computer science; and Nikola Bura ‘21, computer science. 

“We are so proud of our team, and their ability to work together as a team under such extraordinary conditions,” says Nicholas.

This is the third time in six years that the Cyber Dawgs have won the MACCDC. The UMBC team won the national championship in 2017.


Adapted from a UMBC News article by Megan Hanks. Banner image: Student using a computer. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

Talk: Lance Hoffman (GWU) Cyber Policy Challenges, 12-1pm 4/24 online

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Cyber Policy Challenges

Lance J. Hoffman
Distinguished Professor, George Washington University

12–1:00 pm, Friday, 24 April 2020

remotely via WebEx


System attackers and defenders operate on a constantly changing battlefield, and some of the more serious conflicts involving nation-states could be considered acts of war, though we are still in the early stages of defining war in cyberspace. Policies for security and privacy can vary wildly, and have important personal, national, and global consequences for privacy, free speech, censorship, and other issues. Things get even more complicated with the advent of the Internet of Things, where (mostly unsophisticated) users may think they have more control than they actually do and can make bad mistakes. Various ethical issues related to the development of these systems, including bias in artificial intelligence and what harm to choose when harm is unavoidable have only started to be examined. This talk will provide both historical context and some discussion of topical issues such as Zoombombing and the security of electronic voting systems as compared to mail ballots and traditional voting.


Professor Lance J. Hoffman is the author or editor of numerous articles and five books on computer security and privacy. He developed the first regularly offered course on computer security at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. A Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Cyber Security Hall of Fame, Dr. Hoffman institutionalized the ACM Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. He has served on a number of Advisory Committees including those of Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Homeland Security and has testified before Congress on security and privacy-related issues. He is the principal investigator of the CyberCorps program at GWU. Dr. Hoffman earned his Ph. D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, after a B.S. in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University.


Host: Alan T. Sherman, Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681. The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public. Upcoming CDL meetings: May 8, Jason Wells (UMBC SFS scholar) law enforcement; May 22, Spring SFS Meeting at UMBC, 9:30am-2pm, ITE456

online talk: Opal Hard Drives for Ransomware Resilience

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Opal Hard Drives for Ransomware Resilience

Russ Fink, Ph.D.
Senior Staff, the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory

12:00–1 pm,  Friday, 10 April 2020
via WebEx: umbc.webex.com/meet/sherman

 

Ransomware is crippling industry and government alike.  Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your files back, but it funds the criminals who will continue on. Restoring from traditional network backups takes time, and never gets you back to the system you had before the attack.  In response, we have developed a resilient, local malware restore and recovery capability, capable of quickly restoring OS images onto “bare metal” after an attack or misconfiguration, useful for many applications.

I will discuss the technical details, including a description of the Opal hard drive specification, the Trusted Computing Group’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and how we secure secrets needed for WUBU – Wake-Up-Back-Up.  I’ll talk through some of the open-source technologies that we used to build our solution.  WebEx willing, I will give a live demonstration of a ShinoLocker ransomware infection, followed by an “as if nothing ever happened” recovery that takes only ten minutes.

Russ Fink is a senior staff member at the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory.  His research interests include computational private information retrieval, trusted computing applications, applied cryptography, and enterprise and mission cyber resiliency techniques.  He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from UMBC in 2010 working with Dr. Alan Sherman.  email: 

Host: Alan T. Sherman, . Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681.  The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays.  All meetings are open to the public.  Upcoming CDL Meetings:

  • Apr 24, Lance Hoffman (GWU), policy
  • May 8, Jason Wells (UMBC SFS scholar), law enforcement
  • May 22, Spring SFS Meeting at UMBC, 9:30am-2pm, ITE 456
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