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Faculty Research Highlight

The Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity currently hosts 11 Boise State faculty members, who conduct research in up and coming cybersecurity areas. Three faculty members, Liljana Babinkostova, Maheshwar Boodraj and Jyn-haw Yeh shared recent research they have been conducting.

Liljana Babinkostova

Liljana Babinkostova, a faculty member at Boise State and the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity, has been conducting research within cryptography and cryptanalysis. Specifically, Babinkostova has been investigating the security of cryptographic systems used by devices that have a constraint of power consumption, and the new cryptographic systems selected by the National Institute of Standard Technology.

Babinkostova came to Boise State University in 2003, and holds undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science, and conducted a Master’s thesis in Pattern Recognition and a PhD thesis in Game Theory. Babinkostova has worked within cybersecurity for 15 years, and has mentored over 60 undergraduate and graduate students. She has also coordinated two certificates within cryptography at Boise State, serves as the co-director of the Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity at Boise State, and is affiliated with the Energy Policy Institute, CAES, and the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity.

One challenge Babinkostova sees within the future of cybersecurity is workforce development. She hopes to continue building programs and courses that provide opportunities for students to gain more background in cybersecurity.

Babinkostova also expects challenges within cryptographic systems. “We live in a time of quantum computing, and everything is now more susceptible to attacks because it has been theoretically proven that cryptographic systems are not quantum resistant.”

Additionally, Babinkostova focuses on research within lightweight cryptography, side channel attacks, post-quantum cryptography and homomorphic encryption within the CASA lab. The CASA lab focuses on “modern problems of cryptography, cryptanalysis and information security.

Maheshwar Boodraj, Ph.D., PMP, CISSP

Maheshwar Boodraj is an assistant professor of Information Technology Management in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. His research focuses on IT project management, cybersecurity, and software development. Boodraj’s recent cybersecurity research focuses on two-factor authentication, trust and privacy, and cybersecurity project management, with works at various stages in the publication process.

Boodraj’s most recent publication discusses conversational AI agents, such as Alexa and Siri, and the impact of reciprocal self-disclosure (i.e., a process in which a conversational AI agent discloses information about itself with the expectation that the user would reciprocate by disclosing similar information about themself) on post-interaction trust. Specifically, Boodraj and his co-authors found that reciprocal self-disclosure influences users’ post-interaction trust in a conversational AI agent.

Boodraj is also in the process of publishing research on the unexpected risks of two-factor authentication. In this research, Boodraj and his co-authors challenge current opinions on the effectiveness of two-factor authentication, citing inadequacies in current literature including, “the requirement for consistent evaluation methods, a more extensive range of research on various types of two-factor authentication, and the use of behavioral techniques to explore how individuals and organizations adopt two-factor authentication.”

Recently, Boodraj won a research grant to explore the emerging field of cybersecurity project management. Boodraj observes that the management of cybersecurity projects is shifting from traditional IT project manager roles to emerging cybersecurity project manager roles. Boodraj will continue to explore the difference between IT project management and cybersecurity project management and what this means for the future of the cybersecurity workforce.

Jyh-haw Yeh

Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity faculty member Jyh-haw Yeh holds specialties within the field of computer science. Yeh specifically focuses on research in network & cloud security, applied cryptography, and cybersecurity education and workforce development, with current focus within cloud computing security and privacy.

Yeh discussed the national shortage of cybersecurity professionals, saying that he “strongly advocates for CS students to acquire proficiency in cybersecurity concepts and techniques alongside their coding and software development skills. In today’s job market, there is a growing demand for software developers and system engineers who possess security knowledge and skills. By nurturing a combined expertise in CS and cybersecurity, students can position themselves as valuable assets to the industry and contribute significantly to the ever-evolving landscape of technology and security.”

Yeh is also involved in supporting the undergraduate cybersecurity emphasis and minor, Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity, and the cybersecurity emphasis for the PhD in Computing program. Yeh has published a number of books, journals, conference proceedings and workshops, and recently collaborated on interdisciplinary research with fellow Boise State faculty.