CS Student Blaine Billings Wins First Place in Poster Session

Congratulations to Computer Science Sophomore Blaine Billings whose poster won first place in the ACM SIGSCE undergraduate poster session at last week’s Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Billings’ poster presentation, Modeling Correct Operation of Webcams for Security Purposes, was delivered Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 1:45 PM – 5:00 PM in the Exhibit Hall of the Baltimore Convention Center and was announced first place winner during the awards luncheon on Saturday.

There were two tiers of competition, undergraduate and graduate research. Billings won the undergraduate category, which included submissions from junior and senior undergraduate students.

Second place was awarded to SUNY Oneonta while third went to the University of Alabama.

Of the experience, Billings commented:

  • We had been working on the project since last summer. When we found the SIGCSE undergraduate Student Research Competition (SRC) we decided to enter, even though we were unsure of whether or not the amount of work we had done was enough. We worked on the poster for the three weeks before the conference and were roughly ready to present the poster when we got there. We were shocked to hear that we made it to the presentation round. The next two days, we worked for hours on perfecting the presentation and rehearsing it time an time again so that we would be fully prepared. The next day, during the SIGCSE luncheon, we were told that we had won. We are really excited about the grand final SRC in January.

Billing’s submitted the following abstract for consideration:

  • In October of 2016, we saw a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, the Mirai botnet, which made use of machines on a global scale, primarily targeting often-unprotected devices like webcams and routers. Due to the widespread use of the Internet of Things (IoT), and, specifically, webcams, the attack surface available to malicious actors has increased dramatically. Whereas some researchers tackle this problem by measuring and increasing the efficiency of existing Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs) or by creating models for the purpose of characterizing cyber-attacks, such solutions do not investigate the problem of identifying when a system itself is behaving under incorrect operation. Through our research, we established a set of stochastic models that are able to accurately and efficiently model the correct operation and behavior of webcams. In order to verify the efficacy and validity of such models, we ran a multitude of normal-operation scenarios and cyber-attacks against webcams using an isolated network. Using the data from these emulated experiments, we correlated network traffic data and audit logs to verify the correctness and accuracy of our models.

A special thanks to Xenia (Dr. X) for her terrific work mentoring Billings and the other students in her Cybersecurity Research Lab. Billings did a great job presenting his poster and the comments from the judges on his research project were highly complimentary.

In addition to receiving a medal, Billings won $500 and will be going on to compete in the overall SIGs competition with students from across the nation who have won other ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) conference undergraduate competitions.

SIGCSE aims to provide a global forum for educators to discuss research and practice related to the learning, and teaching of computing, the development, implementation, and evaluation of computing programs, curricula, and courses at all education levels, as well as broad participation, educational technology, instructional spaces, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy related to computing research.

This year’s conference received a record number 1753 attendees.

Next year’s SIGCSE will be in Minneapolis, MN, February 27 – March 2, 2019 and is the 50th SIGCSE Symposium! Please see the SIGCSE 2019 website for more information.

Read about Billings’ additional accomplishments here.