Nizar Lajnef's sensor technology being tested on the Mackinac Bridge. Photo by: MDOT Photo Unit

Photo by: MDOT Photo Unit

We have two strong research groups in the area of security. The first is the built environment, such as structures and roads. The new Structural Fire Safety Research Lab is recognized both nationally and globally as a uniquely valuable resource within short order. In the information realm we are expanding the existing strong effort in information security (e.g., proving correctness of large, complex codes, and improving network security).

In the News

Arun Ross - MasterPrint

Can mobile phones be secured with a fingerprint?

No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers from New York University and Michigan State University have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based Arun Ross is working with researchers at New York University on the vulnerability of using a fingerprint to secure mobile systems used in mobile phones and other devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

Arun Ross, MSU professor of computer science and engineering and co-author of the study, said a number of electronic devices such as smartphones are beginning to incorporate fingerprint sensors for user authentication. The sensors embedded in these devices are generally small and the resulting images are limited in size. To compensate, these devices often acquire multiple partial impressions of a single finger during enrollment to ensure that at least one of them will successfully match with the image obtained from the user during authentication. This introduces a vulnerability that needs to be carefully addressed.

Researchers hypothesized that there could be enough similarities among different people’s partial prints that one could create a “MasterPrint.”

Nasir Memon, NYU professor of computer science and engineering and the research team leader, said the MasterPrint concept bears similarity to a hacker who attempts to crack a PIN-based system using a commonly adopted password such as 1234. 

“About 4 percent of the time, the password 1234 will be correct, which is a relatively high probability when you’re just guessing,” said Memon.

The researchers emphasize that their work was done in a simulated environment, but note that improvements in creating synthetic prints and techniques for transferring digital MasterPrints to physical artifacts in order to spoof an operational device pose significant concerns. The high matching capability of MasterPrints points to the challenges of designing trustworthy fingerprint-based authentication systems, and reinforces the need for multi-factor authentication schemes to enhance the security of these systems

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Predicting Failure of Offshore Oil Hoses

Roozbeh Dargazany will use an ACS doctoral new investigator award to study how to predict the catastrophic failure of offshore oil transportation hoses.Roozbeh Dargazany awarded prestigious American Chemistry Society doctoral new investigator grant 

Research into stopping the degradation and failure of offshore oil transportation systems has earned Roozbeh Dargazany of Michigan State University an American Chemistry Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund doctoral new investigator (DNI) grant.

Dargazany, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was chosen to receive the prestigious ACS DNI new investigator award for his work on damage propagation in the polymeric matrix composite in extreme loading conditions. The study aims to predict the catastrophic failure of offshore oil transportation hoses.

The award, which begins on July 1, provides funding of $110,000 over two years to support his work in MSU’s High-Performance Materials Group. 

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