Florida Poly leads effort to stop mobile device hackers

Florida Poly faculty cybersecurity grant
Florida Polytechnic University professor Dr. Karim Elish received a grant from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to develop an innovative course focused on mobile security and privacy.

LAKELAND, Fla.–Students at Florida Polytechnic University may soon be at the forefront of cybersecurity education with cutting edge curriculum focused exclusively on mobile computing security.

Dr. Karim Elish, assistant professor in the computer science department, has been awarded a $70,500 grant from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to develop an evolving course on mobile security and privacy. The curriculum will include hands-on virtual labs and will promote collaboration and resource sharing within the community of cybersecurity education.

“Virtually everyone has a smartphone and tablet, and there are a lot of attacks against these devices,” said Elish. “But, we don’t know how we can defend or design countermeasures against all of these attacks.”

Elish said there is a lack of educational materials and curricula focused on mobile computing security and feels the topic is not well-represented in undergraduate computing programs in the U.S., and particularly in Florida. He added that few universities offer courses as specialized as the one he is creating. Classes in network security, software security, and computer security are more common.

Elish, the principal investigator of the project, earned his doctorate at Virginia Tech, where he focused his research on developing techniques to detect malware apps on Android devices, which he found on many apps available through Google Play.

“We need to do something to detect these so we can protect our devices from leaking data and personal information,” said Elish. “It’s very important to teach the students how to defend, understand, and analyze these types of attacks.”

The work on the grant will continue through next year, and Elish hopes the new course can be approved in time to be offered in fall 2019.

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications

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