Data Science and Cybersecurity Center (DSC2)

Research Projects

Security Engineering for Resilient Mobile Cyber-Physical Systems

The project consists of five related activities: (1) develop reproducible mobile cyber-physical system units; (2) design and evaluate a federated framework for incident detection and; (3) design and evaluate coupling of control, communication, and computation in mobile cyber-physical systems with a federated framework; (4) design and evaluate incident detection and response systems; (5) evaluation and validation of the proposed framework.

The proposed research which has been awarded a $1,000,000 NSF grant leverages multidisciplinary expertise in cybersecurity for connected systems, transportation cyber physical systems, cognitive radio networking, information security, big data analytics and distributed cloud computing to significantly advance the knowledge base and understanding of the emerging field of cyber-physical system security. The goal is to design, develop and evaluate the cyber-defense solutions for resilient cyber-physical systems using a federated framework. The project also aims to strengthen the institution's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science doctoral program and attract, retain and graduate underrepresented minority graduate and undergraduate students in the field of cyber security research. The project will enhance integrated cybersecurity research and education at Howard University by developing a mobile Physical Systems testbed for implementing and evaluating adaptive cyber-defense solutions for resiliency. The project supports United States government efforts to produce the next-generation of cybersecurity experts needed for government, academia and industry.

Cybersecurity and Privacy through Blockchain based Cyber-threat information sharing (iShare) Framework

The goal of cyber-threat information sharing without revealing any private information for cybersecurity is far from being met with today's frameworks. Currently, organizations hesitate to share their cyber-threat information with other organizations because of the following reasons: i) Absence of a common format and framework for information exchange for cybersecurity; ii) Organizations are reluctant to share their information because of reputation concerns in case of cyber-attacks caused by negative publicity and privacy concerns; iii) Rival organizations/agencies may misuse the shared information for their own rational or competitive advantages; and iv) Organizations may not see any immediate benefits of sharing their information for cybersecurity. How can different organizations share cyber-defense and cyber-threat information without revealing their private information to prevent spreading malwares and future cyber-attacks? This project aims to design, develop and evaluate a blockchain enabled cyber-threat/defense information sharing (iShare, for short) framework for different organizations to protect their networked systems from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity for IoT and IoT-enabled Critical Systems

Protecting and securing IoT devices is more challenging than traditional network security because there is a wider range of communication protocols, standards and device capabilities. Providing the ability for users to authenticate an IoT device is also challenging because of the scale and nature of the users such as connected cars, traditional computers, AMIs, sensors, etc. Furthermore, encrypting in IoT systems for data at rest and in transit to maintain data integrity and preventing data sniffing by hackers is another challenge. Collecting, aggregating, monitoring, and normalizing big data from IoT devices using big data analytics and machine learning along with artificial intelligence are important steps for providing actionable reporting and alerting on specific activities or detecting anomalous activities that are outside established policies. In this project, we are designing, developing and evaluating security techniques, protocols and standards for cybersecurity in IoT enabled critical systems.

CAREER: Leveraging Wireless Virtualization for Enhancing Network Capacity, Coverage, Energy Efficiency and Security

This project focuses on the design, analysis and evaluation of a Wireless Virtualization (Wi-Vi) framework by combining different wireless resources and infrastructures, beyond spectrum sharing with licensed users, to be used as on-demand service over the network, with the goal of enhancing network capacity, coverage, energy efficiency and network security. We are developing Wi-Vi architecture using systematic approaches to improve overall network performance and network security. This project will impact many emerging areas in which wireless communication has applications - such as smart grid, eHealth, vehicular networks, next generation cellular networks, Internet-of-things, cyber-physical systems and secure cyberspace.

ROAR: Near Real-time Opportunistic Spectrum Access in Cloud based Cognitive Radio Networks using Data Analytics

This project focuses on the development of ROAR: A Real-time Opportunistic spectrum Access in cognitive Radio networks testbed where data analytics is used to process huge amount of data and queries. This project will setup a cloud-based cognitive network for real-time opportunistic spectrum access across diverse RF bands (e.g., 10 Hz – 13 GHz) including cellular, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.15.4, DSRC/WAVE and Bluetooth networks. This project impacts the implementation, evaluation and development of future wireless systems. This project also enables experimental investigations in a number of other research projects, including secure dynamic spectrum access design, cognitive radio enabled opportunistic spectrum access in highly mobile vehicular networks, primary user security emulation, energy management techniques for mobile devices, cross-layer based protocol design, security for cyber-physical system design, interference mitigation techniques and wireless resource management schemes. The information gained from ROAR will provide a platform to assess maturity of the technology and identify areas that need further research for real-time opportunistic dynamic spectrum access in a heterogeneous cognitive network environment and will support enhancement of our national wireless infrastructure and capacity.

Cybersecurity for Resiliency in Smart Energy Cyber Physical Systems

Due to the recent changes in electrical consumption behavior and technological advancement, the demand of power grids has increased drastically. Robust and efficient delivery and distribution of electricity, integration of renewable energy sources into the grid cannot function without an extensive data communication system. Smart grid communication provides two-way delivery of information and energy in the power systems infrastructure. However, increased connectivity of grid assets and bidirectional communications presents severe security challenges. Due to the critical nature of the smart grid services, it becomes a prime target for acts of cyber terrorism. Thus, cyber security for smart grid is essential for reliable power grid operations. Our research focuses on all aspects of cybersecurity for smart grid including threat information sharing, blockchain based security, privacy-aware security, electronic warfare, moving target defense, cloud security, big data analytics for security, proactive real-time intrusion prevention systems (IPS)/intrusion detection systems (IDS) using machine learning and artificial intelligence, network segmentation, controlled wireless propagation, authentication, authorization and certification. The proposed solutions comprised of scalable, resilient, and adaptive cyber security/defense techniques for smart grid operation without affecting any legitimate operation.

Leveraging Software Defined Networks for Energy Efficient Cybersecurity

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging paradigm, which breaks the vertical integration in traditional networks to provide the flexibility to program the network through (logical) centralized network control. SDN has the capability to adapt its network parameters on the fly based on its operating environment. The decoupled structure of SDN serves as a solution for managing the network with more flexibility and ease. In SDN, the centralized cost-effective architecture provides network visibility which helps to achieve efficient resource utilization and high performance. Due to the increasingly pervasive existence of smart programmable devices in the network, SDN provides security, energy efficiency and network virtualization for enhancing the overall network performance.

Big Data Analytics for Wireless Network Security and Planning

The next generation wireless networks are expected to operate in fully automated fashion to meet the burgeoning capacity demand and to serve users with superior quality of experience. Mobile wireless networks can leverage spatio-temporal information about user and network condition to embed the system with end-to-end visibility and intelligence. Big data analytics has emerged as a promising approach to unearth meaningful insights and to build artificially intelligent models with assistance of machine learning and deep learning tools. Utilizing aforementioned tools and techniques, we propose to analyze huge amount of data in near real-time for real-time anomaly detection and deploy cyber-defense solutions.

Resilient Intelligent Transportation Systems: Security, Privacy, Connectivity and Reliability

A Vehicular Ad-hoc Network (VANET) is a special case of Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) to enable exchange of information among nearby vehicles using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications and between vehicles as well as nearby roadside unit (RSU) using vehicle-to-roadside (V2R) communications. VANETs are expected to implement variety of wireless technologies to provide safety as well as comfort for passengers and to make more efficient roads in the future by providing timely information to drivers and concerned authorities. The message forwarding and propagation in VANET should be done in small amount of time. Reliability and low delay are extremely important factors for VANET applications to propagate and disseminate the message toward the region of interest. In V2V based vehicular communications, it is also important to check the legitimate of the received message since a given vehicle can work as a router, source and destination for the message. This project aims at developing resilient algorithms for information dissemination, transportation CPS security, adaptive protocols, machine-to-machine communications, reliable routing, security, privacy and trust issues.

Secure and Reliable Mission Critical (semi-) Autonomous 3-D Wireless System

Wireless security and connectivity for communication and control in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) networks is very critical to accomplish an assigned task such as monitoring a given area, video surveillance. Because of 3-dimensional nature and dynamic mobility of UAVs, there are several challenges. Furthermore, due to the three-dimensional nature of UAVs, a new model for wireless ad hoc networks needs to be developed. Traditional network models assume a two-dimensional framework and do not take into account the large changes in 3-D (longitude, attitude and altitude) that typically occurs with UAV networks. In this project, we are in the process of analyzing, designing, developing and evaluating 3-D wireless ad hoc network security and connectivity for mission critical systems and applications.

Research Funding

Department of Homeland Security

Microsoft Corporation

National Science Foundation

United States Air Force Research Lab


Coronavirus: Ongoing Campus Updates

Fri, March, 13 2020

The University will continue to keep the community up to date about the status of the virus' spread, prevention measures, as well as changes to normal campus operations.Read More >>

Seniors Place Second in 2019 ACI Concrete Construction Competition

Wed, March, 11 2020

Civil and Environmental Engineering Seniors Travis Flowers, Grace Glenn, Darien Mercado, Binaya Paudel, Sigmund Skinner, Camille Wallace, and Alfred Wallfall placed second in the 2019 ACI Concrete Construction Competition, an international competition sponsored by the American Concrete Institute (ACI). Read More >>


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