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Developing Synergistic Solutions: UCF’s Cyber Security and Privacy Cluster

By Yan Solihin

January 14, 2020

The Cyber Security and Privacy Cluster at UCF, established in 2017, is a university-wide research group that focuses on integrated solutions to both the human and technological causes of security and privacy problems.

Currently, the cluster has nine faculty members from two colleges, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and College of Business, as well as a research institute, UCF’s Institute of Simulation and Training. Cluster members are: Yan Solihin (CS, Cluster Director), Aziz Mohaisen (CS), Clay Posey (Management), Yao Li (IST), Gary Leavens (CS, CS Chair), Cliff Zou (CS), Paul Gazzillo (CS), Pam Wisniewski (CS), and Amro Awad (ECE). Among these members are an IEEE Fellow, a recipient of ISCA and HPCA Hall of Fames, two recipients of NSF CAREER Awards, and recipients of various best paper awards.

Together, these members advise nearly 40 Ph.D. students and one postdoctoral researcher, working on various cybersecurity and privacy projects, including trustworthy cloud, blockchain, secure machine learning; organizational and behavioral cybersecurity; privacy; malware; digital forensics; software security; and IoT security.

In the past year, cluster members published 14 papers in top-tier conferences including USENIX Security, CCS, ISCA, MICRO, ASPLOS, CHI, ICSE, INFOCOM, ICDCS, and ICS. Members were awarded projects totaling nearly $7 million from NSF (two $1M+ medium grants and a CAREER award), ONR, DARPA, NSA, NSWCDD, Sandia, and Intel. Cluster faculty members appeared in interviews with NPR/WMFE’s Intersection and WUCF to discuss their research and comment on phishing and ransomware.

The cluster also serves in highly visible roles, including HPCA PC Chair (Solihin), IISWC General Co-Chairs (Solihin and Awad), CoNext General Co-Chair (Mohaisen), and SecureComm PC Co-Chair (Mohaisen). The Cyber Cluster is working on establishing a MS in Cyber Security and Privacy, slated for Fall 2021, and plans to hire two new tenure-earning faculty members to start in Fall 2020.

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