talk: H. Zhang on BFT- From the “Saddest Moment” to the Era of Blockchains, 12pm Fri 10/20

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

BFT—From the “Saddest Moment” to the Era of Blockchains

Haibin Zhang, CSEE, UMBC

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 20 October 2017, ITE 231

Blockchains can generally be divided into two categories: permissionless blockchains (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum), and permissioned blockchains (e.g., Hyperledger Fabric). In permissionless blockchains, anyone can participate in the protocol. In permissioned blockchains, participants know the IDs of all other participants but do not need to trust them, a particularly useful scenario for business applications. As an emerging technology transforming business models, permissioned blockchains inspired a large number of industrial implementations. The Hyperledger Project (under the Linux Foundation) became a global collaborative project, now with 150+ industry members. Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) protocols regained prominence because they can support permissioned blockchain systems. For building permissioned blockchains, BFT is widely regarded as the most appropriate primitive, one accepted by academe and industry. In this talk, I will describe a number of efficient BFT blockchain systems that I helped invent, including BChain, ByzID, CBFT, and secure causal BFT. In addition, I will share my vision for blockchains and associated research opportunities.

Haibin Zhang is an assistant professor in the CSEE Department at UMBC. He is interested in cloud computing, cryptography, security, privacy, and distributed systems. He received the best paper candidate award at the 33rd IEEE International Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems and proved the security of a NIST standard on ciphertext stealing.  Zhang is one of the main inventors of Norton Zone, Symantec’s scalable cloud storage, and BChain, a highly efficient BFT protocol fully implemented within Hyperledger blockchain framework.

Host: Alan T. Sherman, 

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays.  All meetings are open to the public

In spring 2018, Sherman will teach a CMSC-491/691 special topics class on blockchains and digital currencies.

talk: Bill Fisher (NCCOE) on IoT Security @ USG 10/30 6-8PM

The UMBC Cybersecurity program at USG Speaker Series Presents

The Internet of Things (IoT)

With speaker

William (Bill) Fisher, NCCoE Security Engineer

Building III – Room 4230 (Universities @ Shady Grove Campus)

Monday, October 30th 6:00-8:00 pm

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inevitable result of years of Moore’s law – compact, cheap, chip platforms that can take ordinarily house hold items and make them data generating and collection devices that users can manage with their smart phone, web browser or their favorite automation platform. Physical proximity is no longer needed for things like cameras, door locks or thermostats. Instead users remotely access all of these “things” while on the go, even sharing some of their favorite things with friends and family, who need not own the thing, but simply be granted access through a web portal or mobile application. Like many technology trends before it, the IoT has brought great innovation but also great security challenges. These challenges go beyond standards and technology to economic and market forces that hinder security best practices, even for some of the most basic cyber hygiene. Join Bill Fisher of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for a presentation on these challenges and basic mitigations organizations can put into place to help alleviate the risk that the IoT devices pose to consumers and the enterprise.

Speaker Bio:

Bill Fisher is a security engineer at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). In this role, he is responsible for leading a team of engineers that work collaboratively with industry partners to address cybersecurity business challenges facing the nation. He leads the center’s Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) project, Mobile Application Single Sign On (SSO) for the Public Safety and First Responder Sector, and is part of the ITL Cybersecurity for IoT program. Prior to his work at the NCCoE, Mr. Fisher was a program security advisor for the System High Corporation in support of the Network Security Deployment division at the Department of Homeland Security. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American University and a master’s degree in cybersecurity from Johns Hopkins University.

Host: Dr. Behnam Shariati () and UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Association at USG

talk: Keith Mayes on Attacks on Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded System


Attacks on Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems

Prof. Keith Mayes
Royal Holloway University of London

10-11:00am Tuesday, 10 October 2017, ITE 325, UMBC

Smart Cards and RFIDs exist with a range of capabilities and are used in their billions throughout the world. The simpler devices have poor security, however, for many years, high-end smart cards have successfully been used in a range of systems such as banking, passports, mobile communication, satellite TV etc. Fundamental to their success is a specialist design to offer remarkable resistance to a wide range of attacks, including physical, side-channel and fault. This talk describes a range of known attacks and the countermeasures that are employed to defeat them.

Prof. Keith Mayes is the Head of the School of Mathematics and Information Security at Royal Holloway University of London. He received his BSc (Hons) in Electronic Engineering in 1983 from the University of Bath, and his PhD degree in Digital Image Processing in 1987. He is an active researcher/author with 100+ publications in numerous conferences, books and journals. His interests include the design of secure protocols, communications architectures and security tokens as well as associated attacks/countermeasures. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Founder Associate Member of the Institute of Information Security Professionals, a Member of the Licensing Executives Society and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (JTAER).


talk: Shukla on Predictability and Prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon, 2pm Tue 10/10

CHMPR Distinguished Lecture Series

Predictability and Prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon

Dr. Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University

2:30pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017, ITE 325, UMBC
Coffee & Tea at 2:00pm

The chaotic nature of the atmosphere puts an upper limit of about two weeks for deterministic prediction of weather. Yet, there is evidence for predictability in the midst of chaos. Societally beneficial dynamical seasonal predictions of short-term climate variations are routinely being made by modeling the interactions among atmosphere, ocean, and land processes. The first part of the seminar will review the evolution of our field from weather prediction to climate prediction.

The second part of the seminar will describe the results for prediction of Asian Summer Monsoons. It will be shown that after 50 years of climate modeling, the fidelity of climate models has improved so that it is possible to produce a skillful prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon rainfall. The seminar will give a historical overview of monsoon forecasting and will present the results of re-forecasting summer monsoon rainfall in the past 57 years (1958-2014) using the NCEP Climate Forecast System. It will be shown that if the modern day coupled climate models were available during the 1970’s, even with the limited ocean observations at that time, it should have been possible to predict the 1972-73 ENSO event and the associated severe monsoon drought over India. Finally, the prospects and future challenges for skillful dynamical seasonal prediction will be described.

J. Shukla was born in 1944 in a small village (Mirdha) in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, India. This village had no electricity, no roads or transportation, and no primary school building. Most of his primary school education was received under a large banyan tree. He passed from the S.R.S. High School, Sheopur, in the first class with distinction in Mathematics and Sanskrit. He was unable to study science in high school because none of the schools near his village included science education. His father, the late Shri Chandra Shekhar Shukla, asked him to read all the science books for classes 6 through 10 during the summer before he was admitted to the S.C. College, Ballia, to study science. After passing the twelfth grade from S.C. College, he went to Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.) where, at the age of 18, he passed BS (honors) with Physics, Mathematics, and Geology in the first class and then earned the MS in Geophysics in the first class in 1964. He received Ph.D. in Geophysics from BHU in 1971 and ScD in Meteorology from MIT in 1976

talk: James R. Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, 12-1pm Fri. Oct 6, 132 PAHB, UMBC

Lecture by James Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, 12-1pm Fri. Oct. 6 at UMBC

James R. Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, will give a public lecture on Friday, 6 October 2017 in the lecture hall (room 132) of the Performing Arts & Humanities Building at UMBC.

The Honorable James R. Clapper served as the fourth US Director of Intelligence from August 9, 2010 to January 20, 2017. In this position, Mr. Clapper led the United States Intelligence Community and served as the principal intelligence advisor to President Barack Obama.

Mr. Clapper retired in 1995 after a distinguished career in the U.S. Armed Forces. His career began in 1961 when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and culminated as a lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. His intelligence-related positions over his 32 years in uniform included Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Headquarters, US Air Force during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and Director of Intelligence for three combatant commands: US Forces, Korea; Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command. He served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict, and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47’s over Laos and Cambodia.

Directly following his retirement, Mr. Clapper worked in industry for six years as an executive in three successive companies with the Intelligence Community as his business focus. He also served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and to the Departments of Defense and Energy, and as a member of a variety of government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups. He was a senior member of the Downing Assessment Task Force which investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, was vice chairman of a commission chaired by former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security, and served on the NSA Advisory Board.

Mr. Clapper returned to the government two days after 9/11 as the first civilian director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). He served in this capacity for almost five years, transforming it into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it is today.

Prior to becoming the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Clapper served for over the three years in two Administrations as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he served as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on intelligence, counterintelligence, and security matters for the Department. In this capacity, he was also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence for the DNI.

Mr. Clapper earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence form the then Joint Military Intelligence College.

His awards include three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award, three Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, the Presidentially-conferred National Security Medal, and many other U.S. civilian and military, as well as foreign government awards and decorations.

He is married to the former Susan Terry, and they have two grown children and four grandchildren

CSEE faculty Banerjee and Slaughter to give short talks at UMBC Grit-X, Sat. 10/14, UMBC

Two CSEE faculty give short talks at UMBC Grit-X

Back by popular demand from UMBC’s 50th Anniversary weekend, it’s Grit-X! Head to UMBC’s Black Box Theatre on Saturday, 14 October 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and be enlightened by short TED-style talks from some of the most intriguing alumni and faculty minds. See the complete program and register for the event here.

The first session (10:00—10:30am) includes a talk by CSEE professor Nilanjan Banerjee:

When What You Wear Understands You, Prof. Nilanjan Banerjee

How can cutting-edge research on textile sensors and wearable radar sensors help us recognize gestures, monitor sleep fragmentation, and diagnose sleep disorders? The Banerjee lab has developed and applied sensors to users with upper extremity mobility impairments, adults suffering from insomnia and restless leg syndrome, and kids with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, with the intent to begin answering that question.

and the second session (10:45—11:15am) has one by CSEE professor Gymama Slaughter:

The Art of Powering Implantable Electronics, Gymama Slaughter

The number of smart implantable devices is on the rise, especially as we approach the ramping up of the “internet of things.” A key challenge for implantable electronic devices has been keeping these devices properly and conveniently powered. Current battery technologies are sealed within these devices, thereby forcing the surgical replacement of the device once the battery is depleted. We need an inconspicuous means of powering implantable electronics with imperceptible methods that moves us toward new innovative solutions to the power challenge in implantable devices. A lightweight bio-solution that leverages the biochemical energy from human biological fluids is a step forward for powering these smart implantable technologies.

Talk: Role of the Defense Information Systems Agency, 12p Fri 9/22

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Tech Talk with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

James Curry

Lead Engineer – Cyber Security Range
IDC – Cyber Workforce Development Division
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 22 September 2017, ITE 228, UMBC

A broad reaching brief on some of the technical aspects of DISA’s role as a combat support agency within the Department of Defense. Topics will include Scalability and the challenges of Big Data Analytics, Interoperability of systems, Visualization, Incident Response and Digital Forensics, Challenges with Classification Guidance, Supply Chain Risk Management, and Software Defined Networks/Infrastructure as a Service. Attendees are highly encouraged to ask questions.

James Curry is DISA’s Lead Engineer for the Cyber Security Range (CSR), which is chartered to develop and host a realistic DoD Information Network (DODIN) environment for Training, Testing, or Exercises. In this position, he has designed and built fully virtual implementations of DISA’s Internet Access Points (IAPs) and its Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS), enabling the DoD Workforce to train in an IaaS on-demand environment that realistically matches DISA’s core infrastructure. He is a Scholarship for Service (SFS) recipient (2008-2009) and received his Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from New Mexico Tech. Email:

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public.

talk: Results from the SFS Summer Research Study on NetAdmin, 12p Fri 9/8

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Results from the SFS Summer Research Study at UMBC

Enis Golaszewski, UMBC

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 8 September 2017
ITE 228 (or nearby), UMBC

In summer 2017, UMBC held a cybersecurity research workshop that featured the UMBC Scholarship For Service (SFS) cohort working with the cooperation of the UMBC Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to analyze the security of NetAdmin, a software tool developed and used by DoIT. The workshop included six new SFS scholars transferring to UMBC from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College and provided students with experience in analyzing the security of software while uncovering serious flaws in the NetAdmin tool. NetAdmin allows authorized research faculty at UMBC to make research servers running on campus accessible to connections originating from off-campus.

Because NetAdmin directly modifies the campus firewall, possible security weaknesses in its architecture, implementation, or usage could present a significant risk to UMBC computer systems. During the four-day study, students uncovered multiple critical security flaws and developed recommendations for mitigating them. These flaws include architectural weaknesses, injection attack vulnerabilities, and susceptibility to man-in-the-middle attacks. The workshop was successful for improving the security of NetAdmin as well as integrating the incoming SFS scholars with the existing UMBC cohort.

In this talk, we will focus on the technical details of our security analysis of the NetAdmin tool.

Enis Golaszewski is a PhD student and SFS scholar in computer science working with Dr. Sherman on protocol analysis and the security of software-defined networks. Email:

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: Sarit Kraus on Computer Agents that Interact Proficiently with People, Noon Fri 8/4


Computer Agents that Interact Proficiently with People

Prof. Sarit Kraus
Deptartment of Computer Science, Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan, 52900 Israel

12:00-1:00pm Friday, 4 August 2017, ITE ITE 217B, UMBC

Automated agents that interact proficiently with people can be useful in supporting, training or replacing people in complex tasks. The inclusion of people presents novel problems for the design of automated agents strategies. People do not necessarily adhere to the optimal, monolithic strategies that can be derived analytically. Their behavior is affected by a multitude of social and psychological factors. In this talk I will show how combining machine learning techniques for human modeling, human behavioral models, formal decision-making and game theory approaches enables agents to interact well with people. Applications include intelligent agents that help drivers reduce energy consumption, agents that support rehabilitation, employer-employee negotiation and agents that support a human operator in managing a team of low-cost mobile robots in search and rescue task

Sarit Kraus (Ph.D. Computer Science, Hebrew University, 1989) is a Professor and is the Department Chair of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University. Her research is focused on intelligent agents and multi-agent systems (including people and robots). In particular, she studies the development of intelligent agents that can interact proficiently with people. She studies both cooperative and conflicting scenarios. She considers modeling human behavior and predicting their decisions necessary for facing these challenges as well as the development of formal models for the agent’s decision making. She has also contributed to the research on agent optimization, homeland security, adversarial patrolling, social networks and nonmonotonic reasoning.

For her pioneer work she received many prestigious awards. She was awarded the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, the ACM SIGART Agents Research award, the EMET prize and was twice the winner of the IFAAMAS influential paper award. She is an ACM, AAAI and ECCAI fellow and a recipient of the advanced ERC grant. She also received a special commendation from the city of Los Angeles, together with Prof. Tambe, Prof. Ordonez and their USC students, for the creation of the ARMOR security scheduling system. She has published over 350 papers in leading journals and major conferences. She is the author of the book “Strategic Negotiation in Multiagent Environments” (2001) and a co-author of the books “Heterogeneous Active Agents” (2000) and “Principles of Automated Negotiation” (2014). Kraus is a senior associate editor of the Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence Journal and an associate editor of the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and of JAIR. She is a member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Multi-agent Systems (IFAAMAS).

talk: Data-Driven Applications in Smart Cities, 1pm Fri May 5

UMBC CSEE Seminar Series

Data-Driven Applications in Smart Cities—Data and Energy Management in Smart Grids

Zhichuan Huang
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1:00-2:00pm, Friday, 5 May 2017, ITE 231

The White House announced the Smart Cities Initiative with an $160 million investment to address emerging challenges in this inevitable urbanization. Under the scope of this initiative, my work addresses emerging problems in the smart energy systems in connected communities with a data-driven approach, including sensing hardware design, streaming data collection to data analytics and privacy, system modeling and control, application design and deployments. In this talk, I will focus on an example of data driven solutions for data and energy management in smart grids. I will first show how to collect the energy data from large-scale deployed low-cost smart meters and minimize the communication and storage overhead. Then I will show how we can conduct energy data analytics with the collected energy data and utilize data analytics results for real-time energy management in a microgrid to minimize the operational cost. Finally, I will present the real-world impact of my research and some future work about CPS in smart cities.


Zhichuan Huang is a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is interested in incorporating big data analytics in Cyber-Physical Systems (also known as Internet of Things under some contexts) for data driven applications in Smart Connected Communities. His current focus is on data driven solutions for smart energy systems including from sensing hardware design, streaming data collection to data analytics and privacy, system modeling and control, application design and deployments. His technical contributions have led to more than 20 papers, featuring 14 first-author papers in premier venues, e.g., IEEE BigData, ICCPS, IPSN, RTSS and best paper runner-up in BuildSys 2014.

Organizer: Tulay Adali

About the CSEE Seminar Series: The UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering presents technical talks on current significant research projects of broad interest to the Department and the research community. Each talk is free and open to the public. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for future talks.

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