UMBC ebiquity
2015 February

Archive for February, 2015

PhD proposal: User Identification in Wireless Networks

February 25th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity

Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal

User Identification in Wireless Networks

Christopher Swartz

9:00-11:00pm Friday, 27 February 2015, ITE 325B

Wireless communication using the 802.11 specifications is almost ubiquitous in daily life through an increasing variety of platforms. Traditional identification and authentication mechanisms employed for wireless communication commonly mimic physically connected devices and do not account for the broadcast nature of the medium. Both stationary and mobile devices that users interact with are regularly authenticated using a passphrase, pre-shared key, or an authentication server. Current research requires unfettered access to the user’s platform or information that is not normally volunteered.

We propose a mechanism to verify and validate the identity of 802.11 device users by applying machine learning algorithms. Existing work substantiates the application of machine learning for device identification using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware and algorithms. This research seeks the refinement of and investigation of features relevant to identifying users. The approach is segmented into three main areas: a data ingest platform, processing, and classification.

Initial research proved that we can properly classify target devices with high precision, recall, and ROC using a sufficiently large real-world data set and a limited set of features. The primary contribution of this work is exploring the development of user identification through data observation. A combination of identifying new features, creating an online system, and limiting user interaction is the objective. We will create a prototype system and test the effectiveness and accuracy of it’s ability to properly identify users.

Committee: Drs. Joshi (Chair/Advisor), Nicholas, Younis, Finin, Pearce, Banerjee

talk: Studying Internet Latency via TCP Queries to DNS, 1:30pm Fri 2/27

February 15th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in Big data

ACM Tech Talk

Studying Internet Latency via TCP Queries to DNS

Dr. Yannis Labrou
Principal Data Architect, Verisign

1:30-2:30pm Friday, 27 February 2015, ITE 456, UMBC

Every day Verisign processes upwards of 100 billion authoritative DNS requests for .COM and .NET from all corners of the earth. The vast majority of these requests are via the UDP protocol. Because UDP is connectionless, it is impossible to passively estimate the latency of the UDP-based requests. A very small percentage of these requests though, are over TCP, thus providing the means to estimate the latency of specific requests and paths for a subset of the hosts that interact with Verisign’s network infrastructure.

In this work, we combine this relatively small number of datapoints from TCP (on the order of a few hundred million per day) with the much larger dataset of all DNS requests. Our focus is the process of data analysis of real world, imperfect data at very large scale with the goals of understanding network latency at an unprecedented magnitude, identifying large volume, high latency clients and improving their latency. We discuss the techniques we used for data selection and analysis and we present the results of a variety of analyses, such as deriving regional and country patterns, estimations for query latency for different countries and network locations, and techniques for identifying high latency clients.

It is important to note that latency results we will report are based on passive measurements from, essentially, the entire Internet. For this experiment we do not have control over the client side — where they are, which software, their configuration, their network congestion. This is significantly different from latency studied in any active measurement infrastructure such as Planet Lab, RIPE Atlas, Thousand Eyes, Catchpoint, etc.


Dr. Yannis Labrou is Principal Data Architect at Verisign Labs where he leads efforts to create value from the wealth of data that Verisign’s operations generate every day. He brings to Verisign 20 years of experience in conceiving, creating and bringing to fruition innovations; combining thinking big with laboring through the pains of materializing ideas. He has done so in an academic environment, at a startup company, while conducting government and DoD/DARPA sponsored research and for a global Fortune 200 company.

Before joining Verisign, Dr. Labrou was a Senior Researcher at Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Director of Technology and member of the executive staff of PowerMarket, an enterprise application software start-up company and a Research Assistant Professor at UMBC. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from UMBC, where his research focused on software agents, and a Diploma in Physics from the University of Athens, Greece. He has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, with almost 4000 citations and he has been awarded 14 patents from the USPTO. His current research focus is data through the entire lifecycle from generation to monetization.

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