Our Cyber Experts
When NYU Tandon’s Bridge Program first launched in 2016, it provided a diverse group of non-computer science majors with a way to make the leap into a master’s program — without the year of study and $20,000 that would be required to keep up with students who had spent four years earning B.S. degrees in that field. The online course covered the needed material in a matter of weeks, for just $1,500. (As a bonus, anyone finishing the Bridge with a B+ or better average was eligible for admission
to a select Tandon’s master’s program.)
This year saw the first two master’s degree recipients to get their start through the Bridge Program. Lucia Yu, a former economist/anthropologist, is now at the iconic financial-services firm JP Morgan Chase, working in a newly established machine-learning division. Meredith Mante, a former psychology major, decided to pursue teaching computer science as a career. And while the Bridge Program is designed to take its graduates far, that’s not the case for Mante — at least not in the geographic sense: she has been named a visiting assistant industry professor right here at Tandon.
In January 2018, Tandon announced the launch of its New York Cyber Fellows initiative, a first-of-its-kind online master’s degree program, designed in collaboration with New York City Cyber Command (NYC3) and other elite employers to address the acute shortage of highly trained technical professionals in the cybersecurity field. With the Fellowship providing up to 75% towards the cost, the program allows access to a hands-on virtual lab, industry mentors, curriculum designed by industry, exclusive speaker events, and corporate and peer mentors. The very first Cyber Fellow, Caitlin Quintero Weaver, a Bridge Program alum whose undergraduate degree was in cognitive linguistics, is now one of 120 Cyber Fellows in the first cohort eagerly working to advance their technical skills.
The world’s largest student-run set of cybersecurity competitions, founded 15 years ago at NYU Tandon, has drawn nearly 100,000 high-school, college, graduate and post-graduate students to compete since its inception.
Cyber Security Awareness Worldwide (CSAW) events, which are designed by students under the mentorship of information security professionals and faculty, call upon competitors’ skills in digital forensics, measure their prowess in software and hardware penetration testing and protection, and much more.
Launched locally in Brooklyn, CSAW has now expanded to global sites including Mexico, Tunisia, France, Israel, and India.
Faculty Cyber Experts
Since the start of his academic career, Associate Professor Justin Cappos has focused on practical applications of security, notably including Linux, the open-source operating system of choice for supercomputers, enterprise networks, and software embedded into the ubiquitous chips of the 21st century. This year, his methods to protect software updates — a notorious vulnerability — for automobiles, computers, and networks were adopted by the Linux Foundation and are being accepted into industry standards.
Assistant Professor Brendan Dolan-Gavitt’s research focuses on developing techniques to ease or automate our understanding of large, real-world software systems, in order to develop novel defenses against attacks. He recently helped devise an innovative approach to thwarting hackers: scattering harmless, non-exploitable “decoy” bugs into software, so attackers waste time and effort trying to exploit those instead of actual vulnerabilities.
Assistant Professor Siddharth Garg, principal investigator of a Tandon research group dedicated to Energy-Aware, Secure and Reliable Computing, is an expert in microchip security. He is now also part of a National Science Foundation- supported team exploring new territory: technologies for securing AI systems. His work involves developing ways of detecting the presence of “backdoors” that can be exploited, as well as diagnosing unintentional flaws in AI systems that could have safety impacts.
Professor Ramesh Karri, the co-founder and co-chair of the NYU Center for Cyber Security, has achieved many “firsts” over the course of his career, including generating the world’s first research on attack-resilient chip architecture; demonstrating before anyone else that integrated circuits’ test and debug ports could be used by hackers; and presenting the first research paper on split manufacturing, a means of thwarting counterfeiting by an untrusted foundry by dividing a chip’s blueprint into several components and distributing each to a different fabricator.
Assistant Professor Damon McCoy’s research often delves into the shadowy worlds of online payment systems, the economics of cybercrime, and other such topics. He has traced the trail of fake luxury goods, studied how online real- estate sites deal with fake listings, and recently made waves in the media for his data-driven look at Facebook political ads.
Professor Nasir Memon, former head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and now Associate Dean for Online Learning, has played a large part in making NYU Tandon a major hub for the study of cybersecurity. The creator of the Bridge Program and one of the founders of CSAW, he has also led efforts to attract greater numbers of women and other underrepresented minorities to the field.