"Cyber security is a major issue for homeland security," says Atam Dhawan, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Center for Internet Security at NJIT. Since December of 2001, when the center opened, Dhawan has worked to assure that classified computer information is protected against cyber attacks. The technology he is refining, called watermarking, uses keys or codes, which permit users to access classified data. Dhawan's method breaks down the data into subsets. To download each subset, a user needs a watermark. Only authorized users--not hackers--will know the watermarks.
Conversely, terrorists might use similar data hiding techniques to communicate with each other in cyberspace. But Dhawan's researchers have developed ways to "unhide, or unencrypt" messages. "Such methods may play a key role in monitoring terrorist's information exchange in cyberspace," Dhawan says.
(Editors Note: To visit the Internet Security Center and see demonstrations of these breakthrough technologies, please contact the NJIT office of public relations: 973 596 3433.)
The internet center includes the Intrusion Detection Laboratory, where researchers have developed ways to predict and intercept cyber attacks. Hackers rely on certain algorithmic patterns. NJIT researchers have plugged these patterns into databases, says Dhawan. The databases monitor computer traffic and flag patterns commonly used by hackers.
Lastly, NJIT researchers have developed methods to assure network security. Those methods rely on embedded images and identifying signatures. If an unauthorized user, or hacker, does not have the signature, he'll not be able to access a data file. The same technique safeguards electronic commerce.
The Internet Security 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 New Jersey. The Center, based at the Electrical and Computer Engineering building at NJIT, is allied with a host of corporate technology leaders, who sit on its advisory board.
As Sept. 11 beckons, computer security remains a major concern of Americans. "And we at NJIT are doing our part to help," says Dhawan.
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.