BU undergrads honored with CRA undergraduate research awards


Two BU undergrads have been honored with CRA undergraduate research awards.

Alison Kendler (CS’16) was named as one of four finalists for the award, and Isaac Cohen (CS’16) was named as one of sixteen students to receive an honorable mention for the award.  This award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

Alison has worked on several research projects.  One of her projects, that appeared at USENIX Security 2015 conference, presents eclipse attacks on bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network. These attacks allows an adversary that controls many bitcoin nodes to monopolize all connections to and from a victim bitcoin node. The attacker can then exploit the victim for attacks on bitcoin’s mining and consensus system.  The paper, [LINK] which was joint work with Ethan Heilman (BU PhD candidate) and Prof. Sharon Goldberg, resulted in several security patches the reference software implementation of bitcoin.   In addition to this project, Alison has worked with Sharon Goldberg on projects related to routing security and digital rights management, and with Dr. Blake Anderson at Cisco on using machine learning to detect intruders and malicious messages in encrypted network traffic. .

Isaac’s award was received for his research on the security of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) [LINK], joint work with Aanchal Malhotra (BU PhD candidate) and Prof. Sharon Goldberg.  Time on computer clocks is commonly set using the Network Time Protocol (NTP). This work uncovered several security issues affecting unauthenticated NTP and its reference implementation ntpd, that were patched in the most recent release of ntpd. His research results were published at the 2016 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS’16).

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