Securing Smart, Connected Systems through Systematic Problem Analysis and Mitigation

Speaker Name: 
Qi Alfred Chen
Speaker Title: 
Ph.D. Candidate
Speaker Organization: 
University of Michigan
Start Time: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 11:00am
End Time: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 12:00pm
Martine Schlag and Dejan Milutinovic


The world is increasingly connected through a series of smart, connected systems such as smartphone systems, smart home systems, and the emerging smart transportation and autonomous vehicle systems. While leading to improved services, such transformation also introduces new security challenges. To address these challenges, in contrast to existing defense mechanisms that are mostly ad hoc and reactive, my research aims at developing proactive defense approaches that can systematically discover, analyze, and mitigate new security problems in smart, connected systems.

In this talk, I will focus on my research efforts in securing two most popular categories of smart, connected systems: consumer-end smart products and infrastructure-end smart systems. For the former, I will describe how we address the design flaws in the access control models of existing smart home IoT platforms by proposing a novel concept called context-based access control and developing a prototype system, ContexIoT, for the Samsung SmartThings platform. For the latter, I will describe my most recent work that performed the first security analysis of the next-generation Connected Vehicle (CV) based traffic signal control, which discovers new vulnerabilities at the traffic signal control algorithm level. I will conclude by discussing my future research plans in securing existing and future smart, connected systems, especially those in critical domains such as transportation and automobile.


Qi Alfred Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in the EECS department at University of Michigan advised by Professor Z. Morley Mao. His research interest is network and systems security, and the major theme of his research is to address security challenges through systematic problem analysis and mitigation. His research has discovered and mitigated security problems in various systems such as next-generation transportation systems, smartphone OSes, network protocols, DNS, GUI systems, and access control systems. His work has impact in both academia and industry with over 10 top-tier conference papers, news coverage and interviews, vulnerability disclosures, and industry discussions and responses. His current research focuses on smart systems and IoT, e.g., smart home, smart transportation, and autonomous vehicle systems.