MET Computer Science Professor Part of BU Senior Investigator Team Awarded $3 million From the NSF to Study Softphones

(August 1, 2010) – The National Science Foundation has awarded a $3M grant to support a new research project “Securing the Open Softphone” at BU RISCS Center. Tanya Zlateva, Director of the RISCS center and associate professor of computer science at MET and MET associate dean for academic programs is one of the nine senior investigators from CAS, ENG and MET colleges at BU who developed this research project which will be conducted in collaboration with international industry and academic partners. The proposal was developed under the aegis of the RISCS Center at Boston University. RISCS members met regularly over the past 18 months to develop this close collaboration of diverse researchers from three BU colleges.

The team at Boston University includes CAS faculty Mark Crovella (PI), Sharon Goldberg, Steve Homer, Leo Reyzin, Nikos Triandopoulos ENG ECE faculty Mark Karpovsky, David Starobinski, Ari Trachtenberg and MET CS faculty Tanya Zlateva. Industrial partners are Deutsche Telekom and Raytheon BBN Technologies, while the international academic partner: is Warwick University

The project will study the new threats and promises of softphones, and will focus on identifying, understanding, and mitigating new security risks. Two broad risk categories will be addressed: threats to individual users (such as user privacy or personal finances), and threats to the entire communication system (such as disruptions to emergency services). The project ultimately aims to understand how security problems associated with softphones and their networks are different from those of traditional computers and networks, and how to harness the unique capabilities of softphones for improved security.