Computer science professor V.N. Venkatakrishnan is the PI on a single-investigator NSF grant under the Cyber Trust program. The title of the project is "Runtime Techniques for Protecting Confidential Data in Large Scale Systems Software". The Cyber Trust program in NSF funds research projects that address information security and privacy.

When a software program running on a user's desktop connects to another computer on the Internet, how does the user ensure that it is not "leaking" private information? With the increasing use of sensitive information such as SSN, credit card numbers and passwords being handled by computer software, this is a concern shared by millions of end-users about privacy of their personal information. This project employs novel programming language based techniques to address this important, socially relevant problem. The techniques developed in this project will dynamically track the flow of sensitive information in programs in order to prevent unauthorized disclosure. To maximize the impact of this project, this project will also implement tools that will apply these techniques to large scale software written in C, the language widely used for building systems software.

With regards to education, this project aims to train both graduate and undergraduate students to perform research in the the application of language based methods for computer security and privacy.


Dr. V. N. Venkatakrishnan is Assistant Professor of Computer Science and is co-director of the Center for Research and Instruction in Technologies for Electronic Security (RITES) at UIC. His main research area is in using programming language based techniques for systems security. Specific research topics include web security and privacy, and techniques for enforcing confidentiality and integrity policies in applications. He received his Ph.D degree from Stony Brook University in 2004. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the best research paper award at ACSAC 2003 for a paper dealing with executing safe execution of untrusted applications. He is the General Chair of the forthcoming Midwest Security Workshop to be held at UIC in October 2007.

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