Researchers in the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management have been awarded two grants from the National Science Foundation, totaling $5.4 million, for projects that will address significant cybersecurity research and education challenges facing the U.S. and the international community.
Hsinchun Chen, Regents' Professor and Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology in Eller's management information systems department, is principal investigator on both projects.
The first project, Cybersecurity Scholarship-for-Service at the UA, or AZSecure, has been funded through 2018 with $4.2 million in total.
"AZSecure will support about 40 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students over the next five years," Chen said. "The students will be immersed in advanced cybersecurity analytics and information assurance education for placement in government agencies and industry."
AZSecure is one of the largest Scholarship-for-Service grants awarded by the NSF in the nation.
Chen is joined on the project by fellow principal investigators Paulo Goes, head of the UA's MIS department; Salim Hariri, director of the UA's Autonomic Computing Laboratory and Mark Patton, director of Eller's MicroAge Lab.
Eller's MIS department is a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, a designation of the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The second NSF grant-funded project focuses on understanding cyber attackers and attacks via social media analytics. The project is funded through 2016 in the amount of $1.2 million.
"We have built an interdisciplinary team around the Hacker Web project," Chen said. "We aim to answer important questions about hacker behaviors, markets, community structure, communication contents, artifacts and cultural differences using big data analytics."
The proposed integrated computational framework and the resulting analytical algorithms and techniques will allow researchers, policymakers, and industries to better understand the hacker community and its highly complex ecosystem and impacts. Selected students in the AZSecure project will be embedded in the Hacker Web project.
Chen is joined on the Hacker Web project by fellow principal investigators Hariri; Ronald Breiger, UA professor of sociology; and Thomas Holt, associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.
More details about Chen's research is available on his Artificial Intelligence Laboratory website.