CSC News

February 04, 2010

Jiang Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Xuxian Jiang, assistant professor of computer science at NC State University, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This award, valued at $424,166, supports his proposal “Towards Exterminating Stealthy Rootkits – A Systematic Immunization Approach”.


These prestigious awards are provided by the NSF in support of faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research with the context of the mission of their organizations.  Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.


Jiang becomes the 20th NSF CAREER Award winner for the department of computer science at NC State (18th currently on faculty), one of the highest concentrations of any department in the nation.


The award is effective February 15, 2010 through January 31, 2015.


Research Abstract: Stealthy rootkit attacks are one of the most foundational threats to cyberspace. With the capability of subverting the software root of trust of a computer system, i.e., the operating system (OS) or the hypervisor, a rootkit can instantly take over the control of the system and stealthily inhabit the victim. To effectively mitigate and defeat them, researchers have explored various solutions. Unfortunately, the state-of-the-art defense is mainly reactive and in a fundamentally disadvantageous position in the arms-race against these stealthy attacks. The proposed research aims to fundamentally change the arms-race by proposing a systematic immunization approach to proactively prevent and exterminate rootkit attacks. Inspired by our human immune system and fundamental biological design principles, the proposed approach transforms system software (i.e., the OS and the hypervisor) so that the new one will tip the balance of favor toward the rootkit defense. To accomplish that, we will investigate a suite of innovative techniques to preserve kernel/hypervisor control flow integrity and evaluate their effectiveness with real-world malware and infrastructures. The proposed education components include the creation and dissemination of unique hands-on course materials with live demos, lab sessions, and tutorials.


Jiang received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University in 2006.  Before that, he received an M.S in Computer Science in 2001, and a B.S. in Information Science and Technology from Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, in 1998.  His research interests are in virtual machines (VMs) and security.


For more information on Dr. Jiang, click here.




Return To News Homepage