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K-State Today

September 10, 2012

Cracking the code for success: Cybersecurity projects awarded more than $3M in August funding

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Cybersecurity researchers at Kansas State University are securing their status as leaders in their field thanks to a strong month of project funding.

In August the National Science Foundation awarded more than $3 million in funding to support three projects in the department of computing and information sciences. The projects will help protect digital information and boost the nation's cybersecurity workforce.

"This was an exceptional month for the computing and information sciences department," said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. "Our cybersecurity faculty are top-notch in their field. Their recognition as such creates unprecedented opportunities for our cybersecurity programs and cements Kansas State University's reputation as a national leader in digital security."

As a leader, the university -- through its research projects -- will advance federal, medical and public cybersecurity networks, said Gurdip Singh, professor and head of the computing and information sciences department.

"It is very exciting to have the National Science Foundation recognize the importance of several Kansas State University projects that will benefit the U.S.," Singh said. "This is a huge investment in many of our talented faculty members who are addressing the security and vulnerability challenges facing the nation's various cyber infrastructures."

The projects are as follows:

  • More than $2.37 million was awarded to a project by Xinming "Simon" Ou, associate professor; Eugene Vasserman, assistant professor; John Hatcliff, university distinguished professor; Scott DeLoach, professor; and Singh. The project provides scholarships to university students who pursue studies and career paths in cybersecurity and information assurance. Postgraduation, scholarship recipients will intern for government security positions.
  • More than $482,000 in funding was issued to a project by Vasserman, Hatcliff and Dan Andresen, associate professor. Researchers are developing the theory and practice needed to build a flexible but standardized and secure communication network for the next generation of interoperable medical devices. The network would be used in hospitals and doctors' offices and will allow medical devices to securely communicate with each as they monitor and relay information about a patient's health.
  • Nearly $227,000 was awarded to David Schmidt, university distinguished professor and Lloyd T. Smith creativity chair in engineering, for a project that applies parsing and static-analysis techniques for detecting errors and vulnerabilities in online Web server scripts that dynamically generate Web pages. The Web pages themselves collect sensitive online data from users. Web server scripts are notorious for generating faulty Web pages that leak data, Schmidt said. The project is focused on improving the quality of the scripts and the security of Web-based data processing.

An additional grant of more than $850,000 has been recommended for a larger medical device project.