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Professor and Alumnus Collaborate on Research to Make Internet More Secure

March 11, 2014
How a botnet works: Illustration by Tom-B
How a botnet works: Illustration by Tom-B

Computer Science Research Recognized by Industry Leaders

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Wei Lu, and Keene State alumnus, Dan Garant, have been recognized by the IEEE Computer Society for their research on significant internet security threats, called botnets. Botnets pose some of the most serious threats to internet networks today. Botnets, which are run by BotMasters also known as hackers, are malicious applications that take over networks through spam email or fake websites. Dr. Lu and Garant use a web application called Weasel to simulate botnet behaviors in order to learn how hackers infect networks. The research project is an international collaborative effort that began at University of New Brunswick, University of Victoria, and the Technological Crime Unit, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and is now being researched at Keene State College.

“Threats to internet security are at an all-time high, which makes this research critical to protecting individuals and businesses who rely on the internet as a trusted tool,” said Dr. Lu. “Our ultimate goal is to gather information that will help security software address these threats as effectively as possible. With the help of Dan Garant, we are taking an important first step toward reaching this goal.”

Dr. Lu completed his PhD at the University of Victoria in Canada where he originally began his research with this type of program. Immediately after graduation in engineering, he moved to Germany and worked for the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. In 2007, he returned to Canada and joined the University of New Brunswick in which he received his Professional Engineer certificate and Diploma in Undergraduate Teaching. He then worked for a start-up company that was bought by IBM and worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in efforts to stop hackers. In 2010, Dr. Lu started research at Keene State.

Keene State College graduate, Dan Garant, is currently earning his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Lu and Garant presented their research in 2013 at the 27th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications, in Barcelona, Spain.