Guidelines for smart grid cybersecurity, 2/15/2011

The North American electric power system has been called the world's largest interconnected machine and is a key part of our national infrastructure. The power grid is evolving to better exploit modern information technology and become more integrated with our cyber infrastructure. This presents unprecedented opportunities for enhanced management and efficiency but also introduces vulnerabilities for intrusions, cascading disruptions, malicious attacks, inappropriate manipulations and other threats. Similar issues are foreseen for other cyber-physical infrastructure systems including industrial control systems, transportation, water, natural gas and waste disposal.

A one-day Smart Grid Cyber Security Conference will be held at UMBC on February 15, hosted by the UMBC Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department and Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator. The conference will be a comprehensive presentation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding an Inter-agency Report 7628 (NISTIR 7628) named Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security which is a critically important document for guiding government, regulatory organizations, industry and academia on Smart Grid cybersecurity. This regional outreach conference is valuable to any organization that is planning, integrating, executing or developing cyber technology for the Smart Grid.

The conference is free, but participants are asked to register in advance to help us organize for the correct number of participants.

A full copy of the 600 page report is available here.

Palanivel Kodeswaran dissertation defense, 10am 1/31/11


Palanivel Kodeswaran will defend his Ph.D. dissertation, "On the use of context and policies in declarative networked systems", at 10:00am on Monday, 31 January in ITE 325. The research was directed by Professor Anupan Joshi. The defense is open to the public.

Abstract: Managing complex networks while ensuring that certain high level goals such as security are met is a complicated process. This is evidenced by the recent Internet outages caused by operators misconfiguring BGP routers. Clearly, there is a growing need to separate the high level goals/policies from the low level mechanisms that implement the various services. We propose a declarative framework for specifying and enforcing high level policies in networks. The declarative framework offers flexibility in terms of specifying the higher level goals rather than focusing on the lower level mechanisms employed in the implementation, and robustness in terms of recovering from failure. One of the key building blocks of our framework is to allow applications to expose their semantics, thereby allowing the underlying network to exploit the semantics and provide better-than-best-effort service where possible. Our framework employs semantic web languages such as OWL and RDF to formally express application and network specifications, and thereby leverages the inherent reasoning and conflict resolution capabilities of these languages. Once the applications and networks are formally specified in our framework, operators can write adaptation policies to jointly adapt the application and network layers in response to changing network conditions. Our experiments with video over wireless show that the joint adaptation provides higher performance compared to no adaptation as well as application/network layer alone adaptation. Furthermore, the adaptation policies are easy to express in our framework and can be dynamically changed at run time. We also show how our framework can be used to automatically configure BGP routers. High level organizational routing policies can be captured in our framework through appropriate ontological specifications. These specifications which can then be checked for correctness are automatically compiled into appropriate low level BGP configurations by our framework and installed on the routers. Furthermore, the logical basis of our specifications enables reasoning, and routers can engage in an argumentation with their neighbors to diagnose and recover from routing misconfigurations through policy controlled reconfigurations. In cases where the argumentation protocol does not converge or the reconfiguration needed is not permitted by policy, the network administrator is alerted along with a log of the argumentation protocol executed so far, helping in isolating the location and cause of failure.

New Cybersecurity graduate programs start this week


The CSEE Department's two new Cybersecurity graduate programs begin this semester.

Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies: Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy

This four-course graduate certificate can be completed in a year. Because these courses are not technical (although a technical background may be helpful), this program is available to students with a variety of undergraduate backgrounds. Once accepted into the M.P.S.: Cybersecurity, all four courses count toward that degree. Students may choose to take this certificate by itself, or they may take this certificate and then later complete the master’s.

Master's in Professional Studies: Cybersecurity

This ten-course master’s degree incorporates courses in cybersecurity strategy, policy, and management with more technical, hands-on cybersecurity courses. Rather than having to choose between a management or policy-oriented cybersecurity degree or a completely technical cybersecurity degree, the M.P.S. allows you to customize the mix of courses that best meets your career development needs. The master’s degree may be completed in two to three years, depending on how many courses you take each semester. Classes are offered fall, spring, and summer semesters. M.P.S. courses are offered in a classroom or hybrid (50% online, 50% classroom) format. This approach offers flexibility for students while also providing opportunities for in-person professional networking through a dynamic seminar and research experience.

Global Game Jam at UMBC, 28-30 January


2011 Global Game Jam

UMBC will be the Baltimore host site for the 2011 Global Game Jam, an international computer game making festival taking place this coming weekend, January 28th-30th. This is a 48 hour event, where teams from around the globe work to each develop a complete game over one weekend. The first year had 54 sites in 23 countries. Last year, there were 124 sites in 34 countries. The Baltimore site is open to participants at all skill levels, and it is not necessary to be a UMBC student to register. Thanks to generous support by Next Century there is no registration fee for the UMBC site. Participation will be limited to the first 40 registrants.

The jam will start at 5:00pm on Friday 28 January in the UMBC GAIM Lab, ECS room 005a. At that time, the theme for this year's games will be announced, and we'll brainstorm game ideas and form into teams. There is no need to come as a team: each individual has an equal chance to pitch their game ideas, and you can join the team whose game you like best. Teams will have until 3:00pm on Sunday 30 January to develop their games. We'll have demos of each game and selection of local awards, wrapping up by 5:00pm Sunday.

UMBC 2nd in Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship

CSEE Professor Alan Sherman reports that "UMBC advances to Final Four of College Chess, placing 2nd at 2010 Pan-Am Intercollegiate, after losing to arch rival UTD in close, hard-fought match last evening in Milwaukee. 28 teams competed in this six-round team Swiss event, including Stanford, Yale, Univ of Chicago, Univ. of Toronto." The top four teams are UT Dallas, UMBC, UT Brownsville and Texas Tech. See here for the final standings of all 28 teams.

Gary Carter Becomes Chair

Gary Carter has accepted the position of Chair for the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department.  This position will be held for five year term.

Carter will continue his research in optics.

1 140 141 142