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Morgan State featured on NSA website

If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ve probably noticed two things recently. The first being that almost all new cars today have electronic components for even the most basic of functionalities. The second being that because cars have these functionalities that require semiconductors (small chips “that manage functions like data storage, graphic rendering, and power consumption in electrical devices”), the recent semiconductor shortage is keeping many new cars on the lots.

If you end up buying that new car (or a relatively new, used car), you will be buying both a transportation and data collection system. “The data collected and recorded is quite broad and includes vehicle speed, passenger count, GPS routes, images from backup cameras, and [personally identifiable information] from connected cell phones. This information stays locally on the vehicle forever and in most cases is uploaded to the [original equipment manufacturer]. Those systems also control critical safety items like brakes. If left unprotected both privacy and lives could be at risk,” says Brian Knighton from the National Security Agency.

That’s where Morgan State comes in. Morgan State University Professor and SPLICE PI, Kevin Kornegay, and his team at the Cybersecurity Assurance and Policy (CAP) Center are working with the NSA’s reverse-engineering tool, Ghidra, to mitigate privacy, cybersecurity, malware, and geolocation vulnerabilities. Their work ensures that the electronic systems are supported and protected throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. Follow the links to learn more about the CAP Center and to read about their partnership with the NSA.

Dr. Kevin Kornegay (front) and Aaron Edmond review Ghidra firmware analysis. (Photo courtesy of Morgan State University)

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News Publication

Landau’s book on contact-tracing apps published

The term “contact tracing” has recently grown in public prominence. Articles, news reports, and Google searches surrounding the phrase have sky-rocketed since the start of the pandemic. As Susan Landau explains in her recently published book People Count: Contact-Tracing Apps and Public Health, “Ending a plague requires more than medication; we need to stop spread.” And for that, contact tracing—test patients, trace their contacts, and have them isolate—is key. But how do you do so with a disease that spreads as quickly as Covid-19 does, with people contagious before they are even aware they are ill?

The pervasiveness of smart phones has led to the deployment of mobile applications designed to aid in the contact-tracing process. In her book, Landau explains how the technologies work, how they can be designed to protect privacy, and what the complex interplay between technology, social needs, and medicine looks like. Landau highlights the need for technical solutions to be created with the guidance of social scientists and public health experts. 

To get a copy of Landau’s book, check out the MIT Press’s website. To learn about Landau’s work at the intersection of technology and society with regards to the SPLICE project, check out the rest of this website.

Susan Landau: SPLICE PI at Tufts University and author of People Count: Contact-Tracing Apps and Public Health

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News Video

Kotz speaks at Science Cafe

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your digital privacy and online security and didn’t know who to ask, this Science Cafe NH episode is the one to watch.

In a one-hour long webinar, questions run the gamut of topics, from “Is 1password a good service to use?” to “What should you do if you’re hacked?” and “What are the real risks of sharing family photos and information on Facebook?” Panelists Professor Kotz, Dr. Nora Draper, and Azeddine Jakib give you their straightforward answers to help keep yourself, your families, communities, and broader networks safer.

What’s one way you’ve integrated security and privacy practices in your technological habits to protect yourself and others?

The panelists and moderator for the March 2021 Science Cafe NH