Sandia National Lab Coding Challenge

On February 10, 2018, Sandia National Labs will host a coding challenge in Cramer Hall.  More details to come.

CSE Speaker Series – Subhasish Mazumdar

On Friday, December 8 at 11:00 am in Cramer 221, Dr. Subhasish Mazumdar will give a talk on “Examining Privacy of Location and Privacy of Algorithms”.


Location-based queries are useful for both individuals and businesses
but they are potentially destructive for individual privacy.  In the
first part of the talk, we examine some proposed methods of location
privacy, especially the strengths and weaknesses of Hilbert
transformations in the face of attacks.  In the second part, we
explore the ramifications of bestowing what are essentially privacy
rights on algorithms that judge and predict an increasing range of
human attributes based on massive amounts of data collected from
social media and other sources.

Jiangfeng Sun Independent Study Defense

On Tuesday, December 5 at 11:00 am in Cramer 221, Jiangfeng Sun will defend his independent study “An Empirical Study of SSL Usage in Android Apps.”

SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) has been used as a de facto security protocol to protect users’ sensitive information in Android apps, which often need to communicate with servers online to provide users with some of their functionalities and services. Since most Android users tend to be either unaware of or unable to understand the security protocol well, it is critically important to investigate if SSL/TLS is used properly and implemented correctly to protect users’ sensitive information such as credentials. In this paper, we seek to shine some light into this important issue by studying the usage of the security protocol in 200 most popular Android apps downloaded from Google Play. We found out that only 4% of these apps are vulnerable to two well-known attacks against the protocol, and this shows huge improvement of SSL/TLS usage in Android apps when compared to the results from a study conducted in 2012, where 100% of Android apps under the study were vulnerable.

Thomas Watson Independent Study Defense

On November 14, 2017 at 9:30 am in Cramer 221, Thomas Watson will defend his independent study.
Friend Recommender Systems in the Online Gaming Domain
Abstract: Friend recommender systems are an up-and-coming part of many social networks such as Facebook. These systems help connect users and improve the overall social network experience, and are a staple of matching services such as online dating and job application sites. However, not all social networks have adopted these systems. In particular, gaming platforms such as Steam, Xbox Live, and the PlayStation Network do not currently have real friend recommender systems, though there is evidence that gamers would benefit from them. This report highlights the first academic research into applying existing friend recommender systems to the gaming domain. The surveys we conducted show that users would be receptive to such services and that it would not be overly difficult to integrate them into existing gaming platforms. Our offline evaluations compare the performance of standard link prediction algorithms and friend recommender systems using a dataset collected from the Steam community. Lastly, the results from our user survey with over 1,400 responses showed that gamers add friends for a variety of reasons, giving us a better understanding of the results of our evaluations. Our findings highlight a need for further study in the area to develop better performing recommender systems. We conclude our report by discussing suggestions for further work and improvements to our research.

CSE Speaker Series – Dr. Raymond Choo

On Friday, November 17 at 11:00 am in Cramer 221, Dr. Raymond Choo of the University of Texas-San Antonio will give a talk on “Data, data, data: Getting to, Making Sense of, and Using or Exploiting Data”.


Abstract: Data is the new currency, and is important in order to ensure economic growth, prosperity, and safety. Securing our data requires the securing of our cyberspace and critical information infrastructure, and is recognized as one of the grand challenges and will continue to be of importance in the foreseeable future. In this seminar, we will discuss ways where vulnerabilities in digital devices, such as 3D printers and mobile devices, can be identified and exploited to exfiltrate data of interest. We will also discuss some potential mitigation and post-event forensic investigation strategies. Future research challenges/opportunities will also be discussed.