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UL Lafayette props Air Force cyber defense

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Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is helping the U.S. military identify malware, software designed to disrupt computer systems.

Charles River Analytics, in partnership with the University, has won an Air Force contract to develop novel cyber defense techniques for the Semi-Supervised Algorithms against Malware Evolution program.

SESAME is a cloud-based learning system that evolves in response to changing threats.

Dr. Arun Lakhotia, a computer science professor at UL Lafayette, is helping to develop algorithms for the next generation of detection systems to counter the increasing numbers and complexity of malware attacks.

"In the world of instant and indefinite connectivity, the cyber world has changed as shown by the recent Target hack,” said Lakhotia. Hackers gained access to 40 million credit and debit card numbers as well as personal information for another 70 million people.

“This project is aimed at transforming the cyber defense infrastructure for the Air Force, in part to take advantage of cloud computing, and in part to keep up with the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers."

The rise of malware attacks poses a critical threat to networked assets, according to Charles River.

“Human analysts cannot cope with the large volume of malware and automated methods have difficulty recognizing evolving malware,” said Dr. Avi Pfeffer, principal scientist at Charles River.

“Our goal under the SESAME effort is to develop a robust, scalable system that improves malware detection while countering attempts by attackers to subvert our defenses.”

The partnership provides UL Lafayette computer science students the opportunity to collaborate with experienced scientists and engineers on industry applications.

"Our students work on a real-world project while contributing to our nation's security. These opportunities, as they often do, lead to job offers for most of our students before they graduate," said Lakhotia.