Guofei Gu receives AFOSR Young Investigator Award

January 18, 2013

Dr. Guofei Gu, a researcher in the TEES Computer Science and Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, has received an award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) through its Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

Gu was selected for his proposal, "Go Ahead of Malware's Infections and Controls: Towards New Techniques for Proactive Cyber Defense."

Summarizing his research project, Gu said, "We are currently witnessing a sea change in cyber crimes carried out by malware, from fun/fame driven to profit driven. With strong economic incentives, cyber criminals are writing much better malware. Even worse, the attack-defense arms race actually favors attackers because they are more proactive in designing/testing new attacks while defenders are reactive and need to defend all possible attacks at all places at all times. It is clear that we need to develop some 'game-changing' approach to address challenges we currently face."

Gu's research will focus on investigating such an approach, particularly designing novel techniques to defend against current and next-generation malware proactively. In particular, to prevent threats, the researchers propose to investigate the root cause of the infections and design new vulnerability detection techniques to automatically identify unknown vulnerabilities in current systems and networks so that vulnerabilities can be fixed before attackers can exploit. 

"This research will not only significantly advance the field of malware defense by providing fundamentally new strategies and techniques, but also have a broad impact in providing a new game-changing paradigm for building a proactive cyber security framework, which is particularly critical for military cyber infrastructures," Gu said.

Gu is interested in all aspects of network and system security. To solve practical security problems, he uses networking and system techniques, as well as applied cryptography, machine learning, probability/statistics, and information theory. Gu's specific research interests include Internet malware/botnet detection, defense, and analysis; web and social networking security; cloud and software-defined networking (SDN/OpenFlow) security; and intrusion detection and anomaly detection.

Shortly after receiving his Ph.D. in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, Gu joined the computer science and engineering faculty at Texas A&M. Gu directs the Secure Communication and Computer Systems (SUCCESS) Lab at Texas A&M. He is a 2010 NSF CAREER award recipient.

The objective of the AFOSR-YIP program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. Major research areas include aerospace, chemical and material sciences; physics and electronics; and mathematics, information and life sciences. The recipients selected will receive the grants during a three- to five-year period.

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