Brown CS News

Vasileios Kemerlis Wins A Greek Diaspora Fellowship For Internet Of Things Software Hardening


Click the links that follow for more news about Vasileios P. Kemerlis and other recent accomplishments by our faculty.

Since the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program (GDFP) began four years ago, it's provided 123 fellowships to create brain circulation between Greek universities and universities abroad, strengthening capacity at the host institutions and developing long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations. This year, only three of the 36 awards were in the areas of computer science or computer science education, and one of them has gone to Brown CS Professor Vasileios P. Kemerlis, who shares it with George Polyzos of the Athens University of Economics and Business.

"The field of Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly," says Vasileios, "and it now includes cars, medical equipment, and other devices with the potential for life-threatening harm. This makes their security essential, but existing software hardening protection solutions may not apply to an IoT setting. Our research will combine my expertise in software hardening with George's expertise in IoT eco-systems, and we'll be working on real-world systems and applications instead of generic scenarios. That combination allows us to focus our effort on attacks that are more likely to occur and more destructive if successful."

Funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, the GDFP pairs members of the Greek and Cypriot academic diaspora with higher education institutions and collaborators in Greece to work together on curriculum co-development, collaborative research, graduate and undergraduate research training, and mentoring activities. Fellowships match host universities with scholars and cover the expenses for project visits of between 14 and 90 days, including transportation, a daily stipend, materials allowance, and health insurance.

The collaboration will take place during two visits, with time before and between them used for preparatory and assessment activities, including the sharing of recent research results. During the first visit, Vasileios and George will go through possible software hardening and protection techniques for the IoT setting and make a preliminary assessment of their suitability via estimations and prototyping, while also considering the potential benefits and overheads of each mechanism. They'll select a set of proposed methods for each area (operating system, applications) and create a plan for applying them to the target software and evaluating the results. After the first visit, the two researchers will work on introducing the suggested protection mechanisms to the software components selected, debugging and testing the prototyped code, and then assessing its effectiveness against attacks and its overhead in real use. During the second visit, Vasileios and George will evaluate these results, perform adjustments to the prototyped code, assess their impact, and draw up a report on results that they'll expand on later in co-authored research papers.

"We're really excited," Vasileios says. "Any positive results will be of great value to designers and developers of IoT systems, with considerable impact on the research community that hasn't yet addressed the issues surrounding IoT software. We're looking forward to technology transfer in both directions."

A full list of funded projects is available here.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.