Student attacks Internet security issues from new angle

Ben Theobald

Joseph Idziorek, graduate in electrical and computer engineering, has been researching computer security.

The study conducts research on sites that have been experiencing denial of service attacks, in which hackers try to get unauthorized access and hinder them.

An example of this is WikiLeaks, where the site was hacked after releasing documents of U.S. State Department cables that were considered classified information.

“The purpose of such an attack is to bring down the website so nobody can use it,” Idziorek said. “These have been quite prevalent throughout the Internet for the last 15 years since the Internet has been around.”

In his research, Idziorek is working on detecting these different types of attacks and preventing them from happening.

“He’s identified a new way where sites can be attacked,” said Doug Jacobson, professor of electrical and computer engineering. “The attacks could cost organizations a large sum of money. The goal of the study is to mitigate those attacks when detected.”

Idziorek enjoys working with computer security, because for him it means working on a team in a manner similar to a sport.

“It’s a professional type of team where you have good guys versus bad guy,” Idziorek said. “It’s easy to be a bad guy, because you have to be right only one time. The good guys have to be right all the time.”

The challenge for Idziorek in this research is dealing with the many constantly changing aspects in computer security.

“It’s such a dynamic field,” Idziorek said. “Computer security changes daily. The news makes you keep current with all the different things going on.”

As a graduate student, Idziorek has started a class that is basically an introductory course for the general user of information technology dealing with the ways of protecting yourself on the Internet.

“It deals with different aspects of practical security,” Idziorek said, “including security issues on sites like Facebook.”

Idziorek has been conducting his research on computer security for more than a year.