New Jersey Institute of Technology Unveils Center for Wireless Networking and Internet Security

NEWARK, Dec. 19--New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) opened a new computer center today that will bring academics, corporate leaders and the U.S. Military together to develop technology vital to corporate, individual and national security.

The Center for Wireless Networking and Internet Security, based at NJIT and in collaboration with Princeton University, will pursue research in developing future technologies to protect the Internet from cyber attacks. It will also protect and improve computer network management.

The center, funded by a $2.6 million grant from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, is the only one of its kind in the state. The center will complement two others already at NJIT: the Center for Communications and Signal Processing, run by Yeheskel Barness, NJIT distinguished professor of electrical engineering, and the New Jersey Center for Telecommunications, run by Alexander Haimovich, NJIT associate professor of electrical engineering.

In the wake of September 11, technology to protect computerized classified information is supremely important to the military, but it is vital also to electronic commerce as well as to everyone who uses the Internet and wireless networks.

The center's director, Atam Dhawan, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering at NJIT, will oversee the overall operation of the center working with a team of researchers from both NJIT and Princeton. Those researchers are allied with a host of corporate technology leaders, who sit on the center's advisory board. The leaders are from firms such as AT&T, Mitsubishi, NEC and Spirent Communications. A representative from the U.S. Army is also on the advisory board as is an employee from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. The students at both NJIT and Princeton will benefit from the center, which will guide their research projects in accordance with industry need. About 20 doctoral candidates from both schools will also work on solving problems such as how to make wireless networks more secure. The research will train the students to work for high tech firms after they graduate.

"The center will forge a synergistic relationship between academia and industry," says Dhawan. "The universities are key to knowledge dissemination, and the center will allow academics to develop technology they understand best, such as protecting the Internet from hackers and transferring that technology to industry. That will in turn create jobs and have a significant economic impact on the state."

The center, based at the Electrical and Computer Engineering building at NJIT, already has two computer labs and more computers and equipment are to come, says Dhawan. He also expects the center will receive additional funding from both corporations and the federal government.

Researchers will use the funds to work on myriad technologies. One planned technology will allow the military to instantly recognize a cyber attack and trace its source. The center will also design computer systems that can predict, and thus prevent, a cyber attack, especially attacks on wireless multi-media networks.

Researchers will also upgrade network management security. Wireless systems are especially vulnerable, since hackers can exploit their very nature: providing location-aware services and location-sensitive mode of access to information services. Another problem wireless networks face is unauthorized detection and tracking of location users.

The center will also work to safeguard the Internet from consumer fraud. According to a recent survey, on line credit-card fraud is escalating, averaging about $250 million a year. Researchers at the center will see that the next generation of multimedia networking is well supported with security mechanisms for authorized use and data authenticity.

"The Internet was first conceived to be an information highway," says Dhawan, "with access to all. Because of that, we now have few standards to protect information. Classified information about health care, banking, e-commerce, on-line shopping, our personal lives and our military safety can all be in jeopardy. There's no better environment than the academic one to work on, and solve these problems and that's what the center will do."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
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