LSU professor wins NSF grant to combat malware

A Louisiana State University professor won funding to develop technology that can detect and mitigate cyberattacks in real time.
(Getty Images)

The cybersecurity team at Louisiana State University this month announced that it received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to combat malware.

Elias Bou-Harb, an associate professor of computer science at LSU, will lead the project to create an open-source platform that enables users to program their devices and network interface cards to recognize malicious activity. 

“As devices have become cheaper and easier to buy, we no longer have to rely on specific vendors for security products where we can’t change how the data passes through, or analytics are done,” Bou-Harb said in a press release. “Usually, there’s a trade-off between usability and security because security measures can hamper performance. However, our solution for programmable hardware devices attempts to achieve both.”

Bou-Harb’s proposal seeks real-time detection and mitigation of cyberattacks, with attackers being automatically cut off and their network connections terminated, according to the release. 


“Our system is designed to analyze each data packet at full speed, typically terabits per second, and to be easy to deploy—especially in legacy networks to enhance cyber operations for state and national security,” Bou-Harb said. “Legacy networks include industrial control systems and critical infrastructure.”

Before joining LSU last year, Bou-Harb directed the Cyber Center for Security and Analytics at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Leveraging programmable network hardware to accelerate cybersecurity mechanisms is particularly exciting, as it allows us to promptly detect and mitigate attacks within the network fabric before victims are ever impacted,” LSU doctoral student Kurt Friday said of the project.

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