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The Coming Shifts in Cybersecurity

Date & Time:
November 8, 2012 | 3:00 pm
Biological Sciences, Room 587
Steven Myers, Associate Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington


In military history, as technology has advanced it has heralded fundamental shifts in military security doctrine. For example, the switch from world powers projecting naval power via battleships to aircraft carriers during World War II, or the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction with nuclear weapons. Unsurprisingly, we have seen the same paradigm shifts of computer security as technology has evolved. As the computing infrastructure moved from the largely non-networked personal computers to a global Internet of computers, we saw the development of new forms of attacks, such as distributed denial of service attacks, phishing and botnets. We are quickly entering the world of ubiquitous computing, where people wear networked constellations of computational devices and sensors; similarly, networked computation and sensing devices will be embedded into virtually every modern appliance, and many traditionally passive human artifacts. These artifacts (will) have much greater ability to sense and modify the physical world than the historical computing infrastructure. This will have significant security implications. There will, of course, be attacks that are simply translations of current attacks to new platforms. However, there will also be substantially new forms of attacks and transmissions, that make use of these new abilities.

In this talk, I will motivate the importance of trying to plan for the changes in computing infrastructure and the resulting security implications, by looking at previous security changes, such as the introduction of phishing and botnets. I will next discuss work we have done where we model the abilities of malware to take advantage of non-traditional sensing and transmission mechanisms in smartphones.


Steven Myers is an Associate Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he is also a member of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity. His research interests are in all areas of cryptography, and computer and systems security with a specific interest in phishing. He has written several papers, led panels, and given invited talks in fields ranging from Cryptography and Computer Security to Distributed Systems and Probabilistic Combinatorics. He co-edited the book 'Phishing & Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft' with Markus Jakobsson (Wiley Press, 2007). Steve Myers completed his PhD (2005) and MSc (1999) in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Professor Charles Rackoff. He completed his BSc in computer science, with a minor in pure mathematics at the University of Calgary. While completing his PhD he interned in the Mathematical Research division of Telcordia Technologies (formerly Belcore) doing work on secure cryptographic voting. Additionally, he worked for Echoworx Corp, an Internet startup focusing on providing usable and secure email solutions. He has consulted for a number companies and law firms on different topics related to cryptography and computer security, and is currently processing several patents related to his research.

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