Trust, Reliability, and Security

  • Computer security, privacy, and information trust
  • Cryptographic systems and protocols
  • Fault tolerance and reliability
  • Computer-aided verification

Trustworthy systems have certain properties that can be relied upon. The need for trust and the means of ensuring are driven by the increasing complexity of computer and communication systems. One has only to read about the latest data breach at a major bank or retailer to appreciate the scale and seriousness of the problem.

As national infrastructures become intertwined with emerging global data networks, the security and reliability of the two have become synonymous. This connection, while necessary, leaves wide swaths of our everyday lives vulnerable to the rapidly evolving threats. At the turn of the century, numerous events pointed to the need for the development of reliable and trustworthy systems. Malicious computer viruses – including Code Red and the SQL Slammer worm – infected hundreds of thousands of machines around the world. Power outages caused millions of Americans to lose electricity. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States sparked a global outcry for greater security, while still balancing individual rights. Today, the need for security and reliability are illustrated on a daily basis. Attackers are able to infiltrate all facets of our society by exploiting this interconnection between technology and domains such as health care (pacemakers, for example), transportation (traffic lights, cars, airplanes), power grids (industrial control), telecommunications (spam and botnets), and financial systems  (for example, identity theft and credit card fraud).

This area focuses on addressing these core societal problems by helping to build more trustworthy and reliable systems, by detecting attacks, faults, and availability threats. Then professionals working in these fields fix them by modeling and assessing the security and reliability of these systems. Reliability, fault-tolerance, and security includes a variety of topics such as: network security, fault-tolerant computing, cyberphysical security, malware, privacy, integrity, confidentiality, trust, cryptography, forensics, hardware security, static analysis or verification for security, mobile security, cloud security, access control, intrusion detection, and web security. The demand for students with training in this area has never been higher and shows no sign of declining.

To specialize in trust, reliability, and security, you’ll want to take:

Semester 6 ECE 313
Semester 7 ECE 422 / CS 461, ECE 428, ECE 435
Semester 8 ECE 424 / CS 463, ECE 419 / CS 460, ECE 428, ECE 439

Other suggested technical electives:

  • CS 498 AL1                Digital Forensics
  • CS 598 MAN              Cryptography
  • ECE 541                     Computer Systems Analysis
  • ECE 542
  • ECE/CS 584               Verification of Embedded Systems

Core Faculty in this area