College to Career

Astro professors create cybersecurity software

Photo Courtesy of Taskin Ashiq

David Maimon, director of the ECB and a NextGen associate professor in Georgia’s new Cyber Training Center, has recently revealed his collaboration with Venafi, a privately held cybersecurity company.

The Evidence Based Cyber Security group of Georgia State works primarily on cracking down on cyber crimes.

Maimon and his team are composed of largely of faculty members from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’ Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and Georgia State’s College of Arts and Sciences.

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Venafi has signed a $79,000, one-year contract with Georgia State’s Evidence-based Cybersecurity Research Group to search the dark web for any activity that has the potential to impact its clients’ machine identities. Machine identities are digital identities used online by an individual or organization. These identities serve a purpose of securing personal data online in a sufficient manner.

Venafi is responsible for catering to a multitude of companies to protect their vital information from cyberattacks and beyond.

Georgia State’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group has showcased its work previously on Oct. 12 which was held at Georgia State’s Buckhead Campus at 200 Tower Place as a program in the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Atlanta Cyber Week.

“Folks in Venafi were aware of my work and are interested in gathering evidence from the dark net,” Maimon said. “Since my research team in GSU is already collecting data from several online markets and platform on the dark net this was a perfect fit.”

Maimon also revealed that he and his team began working with Venafi around September of 2018. When deciding on the amount of funding Venafi negotiated with Georgia State, $79,000 was their potential goal.

“$79,000 is what Venafi has allocated for this project so far. We hope this will be a successful partnership and that we will continue collaborating with them on future projects,” Maimon said.

Maimon himself was motivated to get involved in this project with colleague Mike Mcguire.

“My colleague Mike McGuire from Surrey university in the UK and I are interested in online darknet environments,” Maimon said.

In addition, Maimon has voiced his opinion on the subject matter on multiple occasions since working with his team.

“We want people to think of this group and our work as a resource for guiding these targets—and guardians—in respect to policy, tools and approaches to conduct better cybersecurity. That’s what this group and our approach are all about,” Maimon said.

CNN’s Bruce Schmeier expressed his concern on cybersecurity, as well as the government’s relationship with cybersecurity. California has already made progress on this issue.

In just a few days before the 2018 midterm elections, Georgia’s Republican candidate, Brian Kemp accused Georgia’s Democratic Party of hacking into the state’s voter registration base.

“It falls upon lawmakers to create laws that protect consumers. While the US government is largely absent in this area of consumer protection, the state of California has recently stepped in and started regulating the Internet of Things, or “IoT” devices sold in the state — and the effects will soon be felt worldwide,” Schneier said.

One of Maimon and his team’s main goals is collecting unique data with the goal of helping the cybersecurity industry to generate cutting edge security tools. Maimon found the project to be a great opportunity for him and his team to demonstrate their skills and capabilities.

As the project moves forward, Maimon and his team will continue to get involved with more companies and cybersecurity professional — both local and international — and help support their cybersecurity operations while employing their unique evidence based cybersecurity approach.

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