Connecting The "Dots": Protecting the Internet-of-Things via a Multilayer Approach

Dr. Qiben Yan
Assistant Professor
Computer Science and Engineering Department
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019
10 AM - 11 AM
EB 3405 A/B

Smart devices are revolutionizing every aspect of our society. New technologies allow human-to-device and device-to-device interactions to occur seamlessly. Those interactive connected things form a multilayer ecosystem to fulfill the promise of the Internet of All Things. Yet, the rush to adopt them has exposed their fragility and vulnerabilities. Protection of such systems becomes crucial for cyberspace security. IoT systems have become increasingly complex and notoriously difficult to analyze. By exploiting the weak links of a multilayer IoT ecosystem, smart adversaries can potentially cause service disruptions, data leakage, or misguided decisions of the connected things. Our recent work is grounded on a multilayer view of IoT security, and focuses on exposing vulnerabilities of interactive connected things at multiple layers and building systems to protect them. In this talk, I will introduce a few new security attacks at different layers and present our defense mechanisms. Specifically, I will present our research on how interactive apps and communication protocols can be attacked. I will focus on the attacks (a) at the application layer abusing inter-app communication, and (b) at the connectivity layer exploiting vulnerabilities of multi-user MIMO systems. These security and reliability concerns of IoT wireless motivate me to explore the acoustic channel for establishing multilayer high-speed ultrasonic connection. I will show that the multilayer view and practice in IoT security have the potential of addressing practical security challenges in a wide range of real-world scenarios such as emerging smart home, smart city, and smart agriculture systems.

Qiben Yan is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering Department in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since Fall 2015. Prior to that, he was a security researcher in a cybersecurity startup company Shape Security, where he participated in building the first "botwall". He received Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, and his M.S. and B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Fudan University. His research interests are to develop security mechanisms to facilitate secure, private, reliable, and fast connectivity for massive Internet of Things. His research aims to improve connected system security through continuous monitoring, data analysis, and system implementation. His teaching focuses on instilling integrative cybersecurity thinking principles. He is the recipient of NSF CRII award in 2016. His recent research has been supported by NSF under the SaTC, NeTS, and SpecEES programs.

Dr. Li Xiao