by Christian Stafford
Dr. Long Lu, an assistant professor of computer science has recently been awarded a $3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for his project proposal, “Automated Protocol Specialization and Diversification for Individualized Defense.” The project is a collaborative effort between Northeastern University, the lead institution, and three others including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, SRI and the University of Wisconsin. The team lead by Lu has diverse expertise in program analysis, formal methods, system security and network security, according to the proposal’s abstract.
The project “explores a new and promising approach to securing networked systems,” said Lu. “Such systems, ranging from conventional computer infrastructures to emerging Internet-of-Things, are facing unprecedented attacks,” he said. A common cause for these systems to become vulnerable, Lu said, is the, “constantly increasing complexity and enlarging attack surface of the systems.”
According to Lu, he and his team aim to address the problem of increased system vulnerability by creating “automatic software transformation methods that reduce system complexity and shrink attack surface without affecting the normal functioning of the system.” Lu said that he believes the predicted outcome of his team’s research “can be directly applied to real-world networked systems, and consequently, defend these systems from various kinds of attacks.”
Lu, who is the director of Northeastern University’s Research in Software and Systems Security (RiS3) lab, holds a PhD in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Air Force Faculty Fellowship. Prior to joining Northeastern, Lu was an assistant professor of computer science at Stony Brook University.