SSU Participates in Cyber Security Research

(L-R) Jeff Nichols, Ph.D., SSU student Summer Sykes, SSU student Chelsea Calhoun, Qian Chen, Ph.D., and PhD candidate Jarilyn Hernandez (West Virginia University) at ORNL.

(L-R) Jeff Nichols, Ph.D., SSU student Summer Sykes, SSU student Chelsea Calhoun, Qian Chen, Ph.D., and PhD candidate Jarilyn Hernandez (West Virginia University) at ORNL.

SSU.2cSAVANNAH, GA— September 28, 2016–  Savannah State University’s (SSU) Qian Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science technology, and two students completed a summer research project aimed at protecting infrastructure. Chen was joined by Summer Sykes, a senior electronics engineering technology student from Atlanta, Ga., and Chelsea Calhoun, a senior in computer science technology from Jacksonville, Fla.

The SSU team worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to design and test a method for companies to know a cyber attack is affecting a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Many of the nation’s large industries and manufacturers – oil companies, wastewater facilities, electrical grids, large communication networks – use SCADA systems to remotely operate multiple locations from a single place.

SCADA systems are prime targets for cyber attacks and, according to one study, have doubled over the past year; yet, more than 30% of organizations did not know their SCADA system had even been breached.

The research conducted by Chen, Sykes and Calhoun designed a technique with high detection accuracy. Their process monitors, tracks and compares the power consumption during normal activity and during an attack. The SCADA systems can now be programmed to sense the spike in power consumption, detect a threat and alert an organization.

Chen will present the findings at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 50.

ABOUT SAVANNAH STATE UNIVERSITY

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The university’s 4,800 students select majors from 30 undergraduate and six graduate programs in three colleges — Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Sciences and Technology — and the School of Teacher Education.

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