Rethinking mobile security in today’s app-as-a-platform environment is both a challenge and a labor of love for Long Lu, who has received a $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award for his research in this area.
For Dr. Lu, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the honor represents his fourth NSF award and eighth research grant, securing him more than $3 million in research dollars over his career.
“The NSF CAREER award is one of the highest honors an ‘early career’ faculty member can achieve nationally, and directly impacts the advancement of promising research in the STEM fields at work here at Stony Brook,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. “Long Lu’s work in mobile security is not only highly relevant, it’s critical to a bold new future. Professor Lu deserves our congratulations as he joins a long list of NSF CAREER award recipients at Stony Brook, comprised of outstanding faculty and researchers, passionately engaged in the important issues of our time.”
“Long Lu’s excellent work epitomizes the cutting-edge research taking place across Stony Brook University,” said Michael A. Bernstein, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University. “Congratulations to Long on receiving the esteemed NSF CAREER award, a true milestone achievement.”
Lu says the timing of this research is significant because we are currently in an ecosystem that treats users as the products. Because users don’t pay for many of the services they use, they unknowingly share their data to support those services.
“There have been reports where companies very stealthily collect users’ private user data, such as their contacts and locations, without notification,” he said. “That’s a very aggressive privacy intrusion and, as security researchers we need to make that transparent and manageable to the users so that they can make more informed decisions about how to proceed.”
“Professor Lu’s research is essential to ensuring security in our increasingly mobile world,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University. “His ambitious research brings to life the College’s commitment to innovative technology solutions that address the challenges and opportunities today’s technologies create.”
“For Lu, teaching at Stony Brook includes several advanced courses in computer and network security,” said Arie Kaufman, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “With the prestigious CAREER award, Lu’s efforts in and out of the classroom are strengthened and increase the hands-on experience for him and his students in offense and defensive techniques in security.”
Over the next five years, Lu aims to achieve three different research goals organized into what he calls “dimensions.” The first dimension will identify current mobile security problems in operating systems. The second will evaluate extending security coverage into the cloud, and the third dimension of the research will look at building the necessary security mechanisms to support the ongoing emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT).
“It’s basically a fundamental redesign of the underlying system that we have for today’s mobile devices and services,” Lu said. “We are trying to think ahead and identify the security issues facing mobile users and device manufacturers alike, to introduce new designs and technologies to the operating system.”
Lu is also affiliated with the National Security Institute at Stony Brook University. When he is not teaching computer science courses in advanced computer security, he is conducting research in his Research in Software and Systems Security (RiS3 Lab). In addition to the NSF CAREER funding, he works with graduate and PhD students on projects for the Office of Naval Research and Air Force Office of Scientific Research aimed at securing software and systems against critical threats.