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College of Engineering and Computing

Female student working with computer tower

Cyber Security

Cyber security breaches are too frequently making headlines across the globe, with even the most powerful industries falling prey to hackers. The key to preventing cyber attacks begins with education – developing a workforce capable of defending computing resources while increasing cyber security vigilance.

The faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina (USC) is leading the way for information assurance research and education.
Since 2000, the department has offered cyber security education and performed nationally recognized research.
The CEC also host the Center for Information Assurance Engineering (CIAE). We are South Carolina's only higher education institution designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency (NSA).

CIAE Mission

  • Promote information security awareness
  • Offer high quality education and research in security
  • Foster collaboration between academia, industry and government.


CIAE faculty and students are working in a broad spectrum of security topics and issues including the following:

  • Securing data and applications
  • Detecting attempts to compromise network and information security
  • Assessing the vulnerability of information systems
  • Securing wired and relies networks
  • Defending against offensive cyber operations

Secure Information Management

Developing methods for secure information systems centered on Web-enabled data management, sharing, and applications

  • Access control models for web data and metadata
  • Inference and covert channel analysis for open source intelligence
  • Offensive and defensive activities
  • Adaptable security policy composition for Service Oriented Architecture and cloud computing
  • Correctness and reliability of Web Service Transaction processing

Cyber Damage Estimation and Response

Developing metrics that can predict our nation's vulnerability to cyber attacks;
economic, social, and legal impacts

  • Social vulnerability and damage assessment models for cyber attacks
  • Public health inspired cyber security preventive approach
  • National critical infrastructure protection
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems; cyber attacks against Programmable Logic Controllers
  • Automated and adaptable response capabilities

Secure Network-Level Protocol Implementation and Development

  • Intrusion detection by modeling a network's health as complementary views of the network's state and discovering anomalies and attack signatures
  • Wireless network security protocols
  • Cloud security involving authentication, integrity, privacy, and availability
  • Certificate privacy by new protocols to allow hiding a user's identity

Reliable Wireless Communication

Investigating the main threats to the reliability of wireless communication

  • Jammer localization using network topology information
  • Jamming detection within wireless networks, including sensor networks and vehicular ad-hoc networks (VANET)
  • Jamming-resistant multipath routing protocols that ensure highly available end-to-end packet delivery

Security and Privacy of Embedded Systems

Discovering the security and privacy vulnerabilities of embedded systems and to improve their security

  • Automobile in-car sensor networks
  • The security and privacy vulnerabilities of automatic meter reading (AMR), including jamming to protect privacy
  • Trustworthy analog sensors

User-Friendly Authentication Methods

Inventing authentication methods that require little memorization from users and are difficult to duplicate by attackers
Designing a new authentication method that uses emerging sensors to capture users' behavioral biometrics
Designing a new password scheme that uses text actions to enhance password security against known attacks

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.