Keynote Talk

Cognitive Security: A New Approach to Securing Wireless Networks and Mobile Applications


Wenjing Lou (Virginia Tech, USA)

Wenjing Lou


The past decade has witnessed an explosive deployment of wireless technologies. The vast expansion of the connectivity by wireless networks, combined with the rapid evolution of highly-capable mobile devices and life-changing mobile applications, has had strong impacts on our life. Security has arisen as a major concern in wireless networks. Many crypto-based solutions have been developed to provide the first line of defense, ranging from fundamental security services such as authentication and privacy, to the protection of the infrastructure and the various network components. Recently, cognitive security, which aims to supplement the crypto-based solutions with unique, unforgeable, and robust credentials that are inherent to the network entities such as mobile devices and users, has emerged as a promising approach to the unique challenge facing mobile wireless networks. In this talk, we will discuss this transition and several promising research directions. In particular, we will examine how wireless signals at a certain location at a certain time can be exploited to form spatial-temporal location tags, which can further be used to carry out a location based handshake that establishes secure communications among strangers, who do not have a pre-shared secret, and a privacy-preserving proximity test without revealing the userís actual location to the server or other users not within the proximity.


Wenjing Lou is a professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2011, she was a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) from 2003 to 2011. She received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Florida in 2003.

As a co-director of the Complex Networks and Security Research (CNSR) Laboratory at Virginia Tech, Prof. Lou leads research on wireless networks and cybersecurity. She is interested in complex cross-layer optimization problems that exploring new performance limits at the network layer by exploiting advances at the physical layer. She is also interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating privacy protection techniques in networked information systems and cross-layer security enhancement in wireless networks, by exploiting intrinsic wireless networking and communication properties.

Prof. Lou is a Fellow of the IEEE. She is the recipient of five best paper awards and a recipient of the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2008. At WPI, she was named Joseph Samuel Satin Distinguished fellow in 2006 and received the Sigma Xi Junior Faculty Research Award in 2009. At Virginia Tech, she was named a College of Engineering Faculty Fellow in 2014, and received the College of Engineering Dean's Award for Research Excellence in 2015.

Since August 2014, Prof. Lou has been serving as a program director at the US National Science Foundation (NSF). At NSF, her responsibilities include the Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) program, a core program of the Computer and Network Systems (CNS) division within the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), and the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program, a cross-cutting security program led by CISE/CNS.