Category: NSF

GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp Is July 19-23

by Yu Cai, College of Computing

A GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp for K-12 teachers will be held at Michigan Tech during the week of July 19 – 23. Participants will learn cyber hygiene and fundamental security knowledge including email phishing, password management, and cyber ethics. Participants will also learn how to develop lesson plans to teach cybersecurity in K-12.

This is a residential camp (commuting optional), and is offered at NO COST to all participants. Room and board is included. Each teacher participant will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities. Camp activities will count for 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH).

Click here for more information and to apply. The application deadline is May.

Funding for the camp is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an award led by Yu Cai and Tim Van Wagner from the College of Computing.


Info Sessions for CyberCorps Scholarship Are March 22, March 30

An exciting scholarship opportunity has been announced for Michigan Tech students who wish to pursue cybersecurity-related degrees and work for government agencies after graduation.

Two informational sessions will be presented, on March 22 and March 30, to help students complete the application process for the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program.

Both sessions will provide the same information. Prior registration is required. Following, you will receive a confirmation email and instructions for joining the session.

Recently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the SFS Program provides full scholarships for two or three years of support for undergraduate and graduate students in selected cybersecurity-related degree programs.

In return, following graduation recipients must agree to work for for the U.S. government in a cybersecurity-related position for a period equal to the duration of the scholarship.

Applications are being accepted for the 2021-2022 cohort. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2021. View the list of eligible degree programs on the SFS website.

Session #1 is on Monday, March 22, 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for Session #1 here.

Session #2 is on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for Session #2 here.

For more information, please visit the SFS website at https://www.mtu.edu/sfs/, or contact Professor Yu Cai (cai@mtu.edu).

Read a Michigan Tech press release about this new scholarship opportunity:
https://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2021/february/cybercorps-offers-huskies-scholarship-for-service-opportunity.html


Michigan Tech Announces NSF CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service Program

Michigan Technological University is one of six universities to join the National Science Foundation CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, a nationwide program to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals and security managers.

The five-year, $3.3 million NSF grant provides up to three years of full scholarship support for 20 undergraduate and graduate students.

In return, following graduation, recipients must work in a cybersecurity-related job for federal, state, local or tribal government for a period equal to the length of the scholarship, among other requirements.

“The U.S. is facing a significant shortage of well-trained and well-prepared cybersecurity professionals,” said Yu Cai, professor of applied computing at Michigan Tech and the principal investigator of the grant. “Michigan Tech has developed a national and international reputation in cybersecurity education, research and outreach activities. We are thrilled to be part of the solution to the nation’s cybersecurity workforce challenge.”

Applications for Michigan Tech’s 2021-2022 cohort are now being accepted. Application guidelines and requirements can be found on the SFS website. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2021. Student informational sessions will be announced shortly. 

The degree programs included in the CyberCorps scholarship opportunity are listed below.

  1. BS in Cybersecurity (CyS)
  2. BS in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA)
  3. BS in Computer Science (CS)
  4. BS in Software Engineering (SE)
  5. BS in Computer Engineering (CpE)
  6. BS in Electrical Engineering (EE)
  7. BS in Management Information Systems (MIS)
  8. MS in Cybersecurity

The SFS program at Michigan Tech involves multiple programs and departments, including the College of Computing and its Department of Applied Computing and Department of Computer Science, the College of Engineering’s Department of  Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the College of Business’s Management Information Systems B.S. program. 

The SFS program also partners with the Pavlis Honors College to engage SFS scholars in a blend of faculty mentoring, peer mentoring and customized pathways.

Michigan Tech joins 78 current CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service universities across the country. In its announcement, NSF noted that Michigan Tech has a long history of K-12 outreach, which it expects to leverage as part of its project.

The project PI is Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing. Co-PIs and other important personnel include Professor Jean MayoProfessor Todd O. ArneyProfessor Bo ChenProfessor Chee-Wooi TenProfessor Kedmon N. Hungwe, and Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss.


Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.


New NSF Project to Improve Great Lakes Flood Hazard Modeling

Thomas Oommen, Timothy C. Havens, Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Himanshu Grover (U. Washington) have been awarded funding in the NSF Civic Innovation Challenge for their project, “Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptation.”

The six-month project award is $49,999.

Vision. The vision of the new project is to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities.

Objective. The objective of the Phase-1 project is to bring together community-university partners to understand the data gaps in addressing flooding and coastal disaster in three Northern Michigan counties.  

The Researchers

Thomas Oommen is a professor in the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences department. His research efforts focus on developing improved susceptibility characterization and documentation of geo-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) and spatial modeling of georesource (e.g. mineral deposits) over a range of spatial scales and data types. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Tim Havens is associate dean for research, College of Computing, the
William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His research interests include mobile robotics, explosive hazard detection, heterogeneous and big data, fuzzy sets, sensor networks, and data fusion. Havens is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory (Great Lakes Research Center), the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. His research interests include large scale field experimentation in the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes and coastal oceans; nearshore hydrodynamics and prediction; autonomous and semi-autonomous environmental monitoring platforms (surface and sub-surface); underwater acoustic remote sensing; and marine engineering.

Himanshu Grover is an asssistant professor at University of Washington. His research focus is at the intersection of land use planning, community resilience, and climate change.

About the Civic Innovation Challenge

The NSF Civic Innovation Challenge is a research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.


NSF Research to Study Household Dynamics in Pandemic

David Watkins (CEE/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $190,764 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is titled “RAPID: COVID-19, Consumption, and Multi-dimensional Analysis of Risk (C-CAR)“. Chelsea Schelly (SS/SFI), Robert Handler (ChE/SFI) and Charles Wallace (CS/SFI) are co-PIs on this one-year project.

Extract

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed household dynamics and dramatically changed food, energy, and water consumption within the home. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing has caused U.S. households to shift to working and schooling from home, curtail outside activities, and stop eating in restaurants. Furthermore, as many households face job loss and increasing home utility and grocery bills, U.S. residents are experiencing the economic impacts of the crisis, while at the same time assessing and responding to health risks. The project team has a unique opportunity to study these shifting household consumption and behavioral responses and quantify the associated economic and environmental impacts. The team will collect household food, energy, and water consumption data as well as survey response data from 180 participating households in one Midwestern county and compare it to data collected before the stay-at-home orders were put in place.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Chee-Wooi Ten’s Research Is Subject of Advisor News Article

Associate Professor Chee-Wooi Ten, Electrical and Computer Engineering, was cited in the article, “Reports Summarize Engineering Study Results from Electrical & Computer Engineering Department (Premium Calculation for Insurance Businesses Based On Cyber Risks In IP-based Power Substations),” published August 11, 2020 in Advisor News.

Ten is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) at Michigan Tech and the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

The paper emphasizes a framework of premium calculation for cyber insurance businesses by modeling potential electronic intrusion with steady-state simulation results and its direct hypothesized impacts, according to the article, citing a NewsRx press release.

The article discussed Ten’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Cyber-Physical Systems grant, “CPS: Medium: Collaborative Research: An Actuarial Framework of Cyber Risk Management for Power Grids.” Assistant Professor Yeonwoo Rho, Mathematical Sciences, is co-PI on the award. The three-year $349K project was awarded in August 2017. Read the abstract and view additional CPS and ICC research projects here, . View the award at NSF.com.

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, founded in 2015, promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

It works to provide faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

Advisor News is published by InsuranceNewsNet, which describes itself as on the forefront of communicating breaking news and original insights to the industry. With thousands of news sources and hundreds of original articles, the site provides premium content typically only available through proprietary news outlets.


Article by Alex Sergeyev Published in Journal of Engineering Technology (JET)

Alex Sergeyev

An article co-authored by Aleksandr Sergeyev, College of Computing professor, director of the Mechatronics graduate program, and member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences, has been published in the Journal of Engineering Technology (JET).

The conclusive article, titled “A University, Community College, and Industry Partnership: Revamping Robotics Education to Meet 21st century Needs – NSF Sponsored Project Final Report,” summarizes the work funded by a $750K NSF grant received by Servgeyev in 2015 to to promote robotics education.  The paper details the grant-funded achievements in curriculum and educational tools development, dissemination, and implementation at Michigan Tech and beyond.

Co-PIs on the project are  Scott A. Kuhl (Michigan Technological University), Prince Mehandiratta (Michigan Technological University), Mark Highum (Bay de Noc Community College), Mark Bradley Kinney (West Shore Community College), and Nasser Alaraje (The University of Toledo).

A related paper was presented at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 21-24, 2019, in Tampa, FL, as part of the panel “Academe/Industry Collaboration” presented by the Technical Engineering Technology Division, where it was awarded the Best Paper Award in the Engineering Technology Division. Download the conference paper here: https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/140/papers/26234/view.

Conference Paper Abstract: Recently, educators have worked to improve STEM education at all levels, but challenges remain. Capitalizing on the appeal of robotics is one strategy proposed to increase STEM interest. The interdisciplinary nature of robots, which involve motors, sensors, and programs, make robotics a useful STEM pedagogical tool. There is also a significant need for industrial certification programs in robotics. Robots are increasingly used across industry sectors to improve production throughputs while maintaining product quality. The benefits of robotics, however, depend on workers with up-to-date knowledge and skills to maintain and use existing robots, enhance future technologies, and educate users. It is critical that education efforts respond to the demand for robotics specialists by offering courses and professional certification in robotics and automation. This NSF sponsored project introduces a new approach for Industrial Robotics in electrical engineering technology (EET) programs at University and Community College. The curriculum and software developed by this collaboration of two- and four-year institutions match industry needs and provide a replicable model for programs around the US. The project also addresses the need for certified robotic training centers (CRTCs) and provides curriculum and training opportunities for students from other institutions, industry representatives, and displaced workers. Resources developed via this project were extensively disseminated through a variety of means, including workshops, conferences, and publications. In this article, authors provide final report on project outcomes, including various curriculum models and industry certification development, final stage of the “RobotRun” robotic simulation software, benefits of professional development opportunities for the faculty members from the other institutions, training workshops for K-12 teachers, and robotic one-day camps for high school students.

The Journal of Engineering Technology® (JET) is a refereed journal published semi-annually, in spring and fall, by the Engineering Technology Division (ETD) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The aim of JET is to provide a forum for the dissemination of original scholarly articles as well as review articles in all areas related to engineering technology education. engtech.org/jet


Keith Vertanen Is PI on $225K NSF Grant, “Improving Mobile Device Input for Users Who are Blind or Low Vision”

Keith Virtanen
Keith Vertanen

Keith Vertanen (CS/ICC-HCC) is the principal investigator on a three-year project that has received a $225,663 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is entitled, “CHS: Small: Collaborative Research: Improving Mobile Device Input for Users Who are Blind or Low Vision.”

Abstract: Smartphones are an essential part of our everyday lives. But for people with visual impairments, basic tasks like composing text messages or browsing the web can be prohibitively slow and difficult. The goal of this project is to develop accessible text entry methods that will enable people with visual impairments to enter text at rates comparable to sighted people. This project will design new algorithms and feedback methods for today’s standard text entry approaches of tapping on individual keys, gesturing across keys, or dictating via speech. The project aims to:  1) help users avoid errors by enabling more accurate input via audio and tactile feedback, 2) help users find errors by providing audio and visual annotation of uncertain portions of the text, and 3) help users correct errors by combining the probabilistic information from the original input, the correction, and approximate information about an error’s location. Improving text entry methods for people who are blind or have low vision will enable them to use their mobile devices more effectively for work and leisure. Thus, this project represents an important step to achieving equity for people with visual impairments.

This project will contribute novel interface designs to the accessibility and human-computer interaction literature. It will advance the state-of-the-art in mobile device accessibility by: 1) studying text entry accessibility for low vision in addition to blind people, 2) studying and developing accessible gesture typing input methods, and 3) studying and developing accessible speech input methods.  This project will produce design guidelines, feedback methods, input techniques, recognition algorithms, user study results, and software prototypes that will guide improvements to research and commercial input systems for users who are blind or low-vision. Further, the project’s work on the error correction and revision process will improve the usability and performance of touchscreen and speech input methods for everyone.


Alex Sergeyev Wins ASEE Best Paper Award

Alex Sergeyev

College of Computing Professor Alex Sergeyev (DataS) presented his research article, “University, Community College and Industry Partnership: Revamping Robotics Education to Meet 21st Century Workforce Needs – NSF Sponsored Project Final Report,” at the 2019 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference, receiving the Best Paper Award in the Engineering Technology Division.

The conference took place June 16-19 in Tampa, Florida.

Co-authors of the publication are S. Kuhl, N. Alaraje, M. Kinney, M. HIghum, and P. Mehandiratta. The paper will be published in the fall issue of the prestigious Journal of Engineering Technology (JET).


Bo Chen Receives $250K NSF Award for Mobile PDE Systems Research

Bo Chen, CS

Bo Chen, assistant professor of computer science and member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems Center for  Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $249,918 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is entitled, “SaTC: CORE: Small: Collaborative: Hardware-Assisted Plausibly Deniable System for Mobile Devices.” This is a potential three-year project.

Abstract: Mobile computing devices typically use encryption to protect sensitive information. However, traditional encryption systems used in mobile devices cannot defend against an active attacker who can force the mobile device owner to disclose the key used for decrypting the sensitive information. This is particularly of concern to dissident users who are targets of nation states. An example of this would be a human rights worker collecting evidence of untoward activities in a region of oppression or conflict and storing the same in an encrypted form on the mobile device, and then being coerced to disclose the decryption key by an official. Plausibly Deniable Encryption (PDE) has been proposed to defend against such adversaries who can coerce users into revealing the encrypted sensitive content. However, existing techniques suffer from several problems when used in flash-memory-based mobile devices, such as weak deniability because of the way read/write/erase operations are handled at the operating systems level and at the flash translation layer, various types of side channel attacks, and computation and power limitations of mobile devices. This project investigates a unique opportunity to develop an efficient (low-overhead) and effective (high-deniability) hardware-assisted PDE scheme on mainstream mobile devices that is robust against a multi snapshot adversary. The project includes significant curriculum development activities and outreach activities to K-12 students.

This project fundamentally advances the mobile PDE systems by leveraging existing hardware features such as flash translation layer (FTL) firmware and TrustZone to achieve a high deniability with a low overhead. Specifically, this project develops a PDE system with capabilities to: 1) defend against snapshot attacks using raw flash memory on mobile devices; and 2) eliminate side-channel attacks that compromise deniability; 3) be scalable to deploy on mainstream mobile devices; and 4) efficiently provide usable functions like fast mode switching. This project also develops novel teaching material on PDE and cybersecurity for K-12 students and the Regional Cybersecurity Education Collaboration (RCEC), a new educational partnership on cybersecurity in Michigan.

Publications related to this research:

[DSN ’18] Bing Chang, Fengwei Zhang, Bo Chen, Yingjiu Li, Wen Tao Zhu, Yangguang Tian, Zhan Wang, and Albert Ching. MobiCeal: Towards Secure and Practical Plausibly Deniable Encryption on Mobile Devices. The 48th IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN ’18), June 2018 (Acceptance rate: 28%)
[Cybersecurity ’18] Qionglu Zhang, Shijie Jia, Bing Chang, Bo Chen. Ensuring Data Confidentiality via Plausibly Deniable Encryption and Secure Deletion – A Survey. Cybersecurity (2018) 1: 1.
[ComSec ’18 ] Bing Chang, Yao Cheng, Bo Chen, Fengwei Zhang, Wen Tao Zhu, Yingjiu Li, and Zhan Wang. User-Friendly Deniable Storage for Mobile Devices. Elsevier Computers & Security, vol. 72, pp. 163-174, January 2018
[CCS ’17] Shijie Jia, Luning Xia, Bo Chen, and Peng Liu. DEFTL: Implementing Plausibly Deniable Encryption in Flash Translation Layer. 2017 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS ’17), Dallas, Texas, USA, Oct 30 – Nov 3, 2017 (Acceptance rate: 18%)
[ACSAC ’15] Bing Chang, Zhan Wang, Bo Chen, and Fengwei Zhang. MobiPluto: File System Friendly Deniable Storage for Mobile Devices. 2015 Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC ’15), Los Angeles, California, USA, December 2015 (Acceptance rate: 24.4%)
[ISC ’14] Xingjie Yu, Bo Chen, Zhan Wang, Bing Chang, Wen Tao Zhu, and Jiwu Jing. MobiHydra: Pragmatic and Multi-Level Plausibly Deniable Encryption Storage for Mobile Devices. The 17th Information Security Conference (ISC ’14), Hong Kong, China, Oct. 2014

Link to more information about this project: https://snp.cs.mtu.edu/research/index.html#pde