The Center received a $250,000 donation from Facebook in recognition of its role in tracking international criminals behind the social-media botnet Koobface as well as other spammers. The donation, which came from monies Facebook recovered from spammers located around the world, were used to expand the Center’s headquarters on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

ragib hasanThe Center’s headquarters, named the Facebook Suite, opened in Spring 2013.

As seen on NBC’s Brian Williams Rock Center, Gary Warner spoke with NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel about his group’s work with the FBI in bringing down a $70 million international cybercrime ring. Students used the techniques learned in the classroom to quickly identify the at-large money mules.

Dr. Nitesh Saxena, whose work focuses on the Information Assurance nexus in the Center, and Dr. Purushotham Bangalore, Assistant Director of the Center, were awarded a grant from Cisco Systems for their work in designing mechanisms to secure voice and voice-over-internet (VoIP) communications. The new project will design and test a peer-to-peer mechanism by which users will verbally exchange the information resulting from a cryptographic protocol employing Short Authenticated Strings (SAS) to confirm each other’s identity.

Dr. Ragib Hasan was named one of only 47 international Microsoft Azure Research Award winners in early 2014. His abstract is entitled "ASUZ: An Azure-based Spam URL Analyzer Platform for Rapid Detection of Phishing Websites." Dr. Hasan was also a recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2014 for Secure and Trustworthy Provenance for Accountable Clouds.

Dr. Nitesh Saxena was also awarded a grant from the Comcast Technology Research and Development Fund to further his research seeking to produce CAPTCHAs that are not only secure and usable, but are engaging for the users. Saxena’s team, which also includes Dr. Chengcui Zhang, associate professor in Computer and Information Sciences, and two doctoral candidates, Song Gao and Manar Mohamed, focuses on developing dynamic cognitive game (DCG) CAPTCHAs, which challenge the user to perform a gamelike cognitive task interacting with a series of dynamic images.