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CSC News

September 22, 2015

Enck’s Research Aims to Improve Mobile App Security

Dr. William Enck, assistant professor of computer science at NC State University, has been awarded $300,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research proposal entitled “Improving Mobile-Application Security via Text Analytics.”

This proposal is a collaboration between Enck at NC State and Drs. Tao Xie, Carl Gunter and ChengXiang Zhai at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (the lead institution).  Their award amount is $900,000.  The award will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018. 

Abstract – Computing systems that make security decisions often fail to take into account human expectations. This failure occurs because human expectations are commonly drawn from textual sources (e.g., mobile application description), and are hard to extract and codify. This proposal seeks to extract expectation context from natural-language text artifacts presented to users as they find, install, and run software. The proposed work focuses specifically mobile applications to demonstrate concrete and practical advances in our scientific understanding of applying user expectation context to security decisions. These findings will advance the state-of-the-art in identifying and classifying malware and grayware, as well as identify better methods of communicating risk to users. We will also gain a better understanding of the unique challenges of applying text analytics the security domain.
For more information on Dr. Enck, click here.

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