Dr. Forno discusses the Baltimore Ransomware attack on Maryland Public TV program

Maryland Public Television’s Charles Robinson reports on how Baltimore continues to recover after city computers were infected with ransomware in the May 2019 Baltimore ransomware attack and interviews Dr. Rick Forno, associate director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity and graduate director of UMBC’s Cybersecurity MPS degree program.

From Wikipedia: On May 7th 2019, most of Baltimore’s government computer systems were infected with a new and aggressive ransomware variant named RobbinHood. All servers, with the exception of essential services, were taken offline. In a ransom note, hackers demanded 13 bitcoin (roughly $76,280) in exchange for keys to restore access. The note also stated that if the demands were not met within four days, the price would increase and within ten days the city would permanently lose all of the data.

As of May 13, 2019 all systems remained down for city employees. It is estimated that it will take weeks to recover. According to Mayor Jack Young, US Federal Law enforcement continue to investigate the attack. The attack had a negative impact on the real estate market as property transfers could not be completed until the system was restored on May 20th. However, the restoration of all systems was, as of May 20, 2019, estimated to take weeks more.

Baltimore was susceptible to such an attack due to its IT practices, which included decentralized control of its technology budget and a failure to allocate money its information security manager wanted to fund cyberattack insurance. The attack has been compared to a previous ransomware attack on Atlanta the previous year, and was the second major use of the RobbinHood ransomware on an American city in 2019, as Greenville, North Carolina was also impacted in April.

MHEC selects UMBC’s Jordan Troutman, who bridges technology and policy, as student commissioner

To read more please click on this link.

Dr.Li, EBIQUITY Alum, 2019-IEEE Award Recipient

Dr. Wenjia Li, CSEE EBIQUITY Alum, is a recipient of the 2019 IEEE Region 1 award.

Dr. Li received the Technological Innovation (Academic) Award for technical innovation in applying machine learning and data analytics techniques to a wide variety of research domains such as cyber security, Internet of Things, Intelligent Transportation System, mobile devices, and automated RNA sequencing.

Congratulations, Dr. Li!

Science Unscripted: Conversations with AI Experts, 5-8:00pm 29&30 Oct 2019, UMBC

On October 29 and 30 the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation will host Science Unscripted: Conversations with AI Experts, two early evening events at UMBC from 5:00 to 8:00pm that bring together AI experts to discuss how AI will impact our lives. The events will be held in the Fine Arts Recital Hall with doors open at 5:00 prior to the 5:30 start and will conclude with a reception starting at 7:00pm with food and drinks. Both events are free, but registration is requested.

These events are a part of the NSTMF’s Science Unscripted program. Through the SU program, the Foundation is building an inclusive coalition of inspired STEM students. By highlighting voices often left unheard in the STEM community, we show audiences that there is no “right” way to be a trailblazer in science and technology. Each evening, attendees will have the chance to hear about the lives and experiences of the women and men dedicated to creating smart, socially conscious AI.

Tuesday, Oct. 29: Code-ifying AI is a a discussion about AI policy. A panel including UMBC Professor Cynthia Matuszek, Dr. José-Marie Griffiths and moderated by Rosario Robinson will examine what it will take to govern AI as well as the implications of incorporating AI into our everyday lives. Register on Eventbright.

Wednesday, Oct. 30: Decoding Bias in AI is a panel discussion about implicit bias and how we can create more socially conscious AI with UMBC Professor James Foulds, Loretta Cheeks, Emmanuel Johnson and moderator Deborah Kariuki. Implicit bias remains one of the most prevalent concerns about incorporating AI into the mainstream, and our panel is poised to deliberate the ethics and possible solutions to this issue. Register on Eventbright.

The events will be webcast live with closed-captions on Facebook, and the full event videos will be available on our YouTube channel afterward. Webcast audiences are encouraged to participate in the conversation using #ScienceUnscripted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Both events are no-cost, equal access (ADA compliant), and open to the public. Save your seat on Eventbrite for day one at Code-ifying AI and for day two at Decoding Bias in AI.

Talk: how algorithms are shaping our lives, 1pm Thr Oct. 17, ITE 104

Lockheed Martin Distinguished Speaker Series

How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives

Dr. Alfred V. Aho

Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Columbia University

1:00-2:00pm Thursday, 17 October 2019, ITE 104, UMBC

Dr. Aho will explain what algorithms are and how they have evolved over several millennia. Algorithms are now shaping all aspects of our lives from healthcare to jobs to entertainment. Good algorithms can enrich our lives and unfortunately, bad algorithms can wreak havoc. An important societal question concerning algorithms arises. Should we regulate algorithms so they don’t totally distort our lives, and if so, how should we do it? The fundamental nature of algorithms makes this an unusually difficult challenge.

Alfred Aho joined the Department of Computer Science at Columbia in 1995 and served as Chair of the department from 1995 to 1997, and again in the spring of 2003. He has a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from Princeton University.

Professor Aho won the Great Teacher Award for 2003 from the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 2014 he was again recognized for teaching excellence by winning the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering Alumni Association. He has received the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He shared the 2017 C&C prize with John Hopcroft and Jeff Ullman. He has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Helsinki, Toronto and Waterloo, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ACM, Bell Labs, and IEEE.

Professor Aho is a co-inventor of AWK, a widely used pattern-matching language. He also wrote the initial versions of the UNIX string pattern-matching utilities egrep and fgrep; fgrep was the first widely used implementation of what is now called the Aho-Corasick algorithm. His research interests include programming languages, compilers, algorithms, software engineering, and quantum computation.

talk: Three Related Takes on Investigating Human-Like Intelligence

Lockheed Martin Distinguished Speaker Series

Three Related Takes on Investigating Human-Like Intelligence:
Cognitive Architectures, a Common Model of Cognition, and Dichotomic Maps

Dr. Paul S. Rosenbloom

Professor of Computer Science and Director of Cognitive Architecture Research, Institute for Creative Technologies
University of Southern California

1:00-2:00pm Friday, 11 October 2019, ITE 325b, UMBC

This talk explores a trio of related takes on how to investigate the nature of human-like intelligence. The first concerns cognitive architectures – implemented models of the fixed structure and processes that yield natural and artificial minds – with a drill down to Sigma, an attempt at a deep synthesis across what has been learned over the past four decades on (what started as) high-level symbolic cognitive architectures versus the low-level graphical/network technologies of probabilistic graphical models (such as Bayesian networks) and neural networks. The second concerns a more abstract attempt at specifying a Common Model of Cognition that yields an evolving community consensus over what must be part of any cognitive architecture for human-like intelligence. The final take concerns an even more abstract (and speculative) attempt at understanding more deeply the space of approaches to intelligence – framed as maps resulting from cross products among core cognitive dichotomies – along with how such maps may help to understand and structure the capabilities required for (human-like) intelligence.

Paul Rosenbloom is a professor of computer science in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and director for cognitive architecture research at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). He was a member of USC’s Information Sciences Institute for two decades, ending as its deputy director, and earlier was on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University (where he had a joint appointment in Computer Science and Psychology). His research concentrates on cognitive architectures (models of the fixed structures and processes that together yield a mind), the Common Model of Cognition (an attempt at developing a community consensus concerning what must be part of a human-like mind), and on computing as a scientific domain (understanding the computing sciences as akin to the physical, life and social sciences). He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Cognitive Science Society; and with J. Laird was recently awarded the Herbert A. Simon Prize for Advances in Cognitive Systems. He has served as councilor and conference chair for AAAI; chair of the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence; and president of the faculty at USC.

talk: Bringing Social, Information, and Natural Sciences together to Understand Human Transformation of Earth

Department of Geography and Environmental Systems

Bringing Social, Information, and Natural Sciences together to Understand Human Transformation of Earth

Dr. Earle Ellis, UMBC

12:00-1:00pm Wednesday, 25 September 2019, ITE 229

The principal investigator of a UMBC-led “massively collaborative” project published in Science Magazine will describe how archaeologists, geographers, and information science came together to show that human societies began transforming earth thousands of years earlier than known by earth scientists; evidence for an earlier anthropocene.

talk: Analysis of the Secure Remote Password (SRP) Protocol Using CPSA

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Analysis of the Secure Remote Password (SRP) Protocol Using CPSA

Erin Lanus, UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 6 September 2019, ITE 227, UMBC

Joint work with Alan Sherman, Richard Chang, Enis Golaszewski, Ryan Wnuk-Fink, Cyrus Bonyadi, Mario Costa, Moses Liskov, and Edward Zieglar

Secure Remote Password (SRP) is a widely deployed password authenticated key exchange (PAKE) protocol used in products such as 1Password and iCloud Keychain. As with other PAKE protocols, the two participants in SRP use knowledge of a pre-shared password to authenticate each other and establish a session key. I will explain the SRP protocol and security goals it seeks to achieve. I will demonstrate how to model the protocol using the Cryptographic Protocol Shapes Analyzer (CPSA) tool and present my analysis of the shapes produced by CPSA.

Erin Lanus earned her Ph.D. in computer science in May 2019 from Arizona State University. Dr. Lanus is currently conducting research with Professor Sherman’s Protocol Analysis Lab at UMBC. Her previous results include how to use state to enable CPSA to reason about time in forced-latency protocols. Her research also explored algorithmic approaches to constructing combinatorial arrays employed in interaction testing and the creation of a new type of array for attribute distribution to achieve anonymous authorization in attribute-based systems. In October she will begin as a research assistant professor at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center in Northern Virginia. email:

Support for this research was provided in part by grants to CISA from the Department of Defense, CySP grants H98230-17-1-0387 and H98230-18-0321.

CSEE faculty Ben Shariati co-author of NIST guide on mobile device security and privacy

Dr. Ben Shariati co-author of NIST guide on mobile device security and privacy

Dr. Behnam Shariati, Assistant Director of the UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Program, is one of the authors of a new NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide guide on how organizations can use standards-based, commercially available products to help meet their mobile device security and privacy needs. Dr. Shariati is also a lecturer in Cybersecurity graduate program and oversees its operations at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, MD.

To address the challenge of securing mobile devices while managing risks, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) built a laboratory environment to explore how various mobile security technologies can be integrated within an enterprise’s network.

A draft version of the document is available as NIST SPECIAL PUBLICATION 1800-21A, Mobile Device Security, Corporate-Owned Personally-Enabled (COPE) and NIST solicits comments on it by September 23, 2019.

From the summary:

“The rapid pace at which mobile technologies evolve requires regular reevaluation of a mobility program to ensure it is accomplishing its security, privacy, and workplace functionality. Built-in mobile protections may not be enough to fully mitigate the security challenges associated with mobile information systems. Usability, privacy, and regulatory requirements each influence which mobile security technologies and security controls are going to be well-suited to meet the needs of an organization’s mobility program.

The goal of the Mobile Device Security: Corporate-Owned Personally-Enabled (COPE) project is to provide an example solution demonstrating how organizations can use a standards-based approach and commercially available technologies to meet their security needs for using mobile devices to access enterprise resources.

The sample solution details tools for an enterprise mobility management (EMM) capability located on-premises, mobile threat defense (MTD), mobile threat intelligence (MTI), application vetting, secure boot/image authentication, and virtual private network (VPN) services.”

This NCCoE project is the first in a series on Mobile Device Security for Enterprises. The next one, Mobile Device Security: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is under development.

UMBC partners with five universities in the US, UK, and Japan to launch International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

Representatives from the partnering institutions at UMBC.
image: Representatives from the partnering institutions at UMBC. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

UMBC partners with five universities in the US, UK, and Japan to launch International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

UMBC has partnered to create a global university network dedicated to securing critical systems against cyber threats: the International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (INCS-CoE).

The INCS-CoE has its foundations in a 2018 cybersecurity collaboration that included UMBC, Keio University in Japan, and Royal Holloway University of London. That initial group has now formally expanded to include Northeastern University, Kyushu University in Japan, and Imperial College London.

The INCS-CoE will support the efforts of the participating universities as they work together to address cybersecurity challenges facing society. The collaboration focuses on cybersecurity for critical national infrastructures including information technology, public transit, and financial services. Additionally, the Center of Excellence will include research, advocacy, and education components.

“Trust is one of the key pillars for a free and interconnected world, for commerce and for exchange of information, be it in the real world or in the digital world,” says Karl V. Steiner, UMBC’s vice president for research. “In order for machines to communicate well with each other, we need to put in place policies and technologies that establish a trust basis.”

He explains, “The INCS-CoE is built on a similar strong layer of trust among six institutions from three different continents. This first-of-its-kind global Center of Excellence will enable us to rapidly exchange ideas and find solutions to developing issues in an increasingly networked world.”

In the future, INCS-CoE may expand to include government and corporate partners, says Steiner.

“The challenges this first-of-its-kind partnership aims to solve span a complex set of cybersecurity issues,” said David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research at Northeastern.

Each academic institution has specific strengths and areas of expertise that they bring to the partnership. UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity and Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics will be instrumental in contributing to INCS-CoE’s goals for UMBC.

Learn more about the INCS-CoE.

Adapted from a UMBC News article by Megan Hanks, photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

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