Even before creating a dedicated Cyber Security master’s program, Boston University’s Department of Computer Science achieved an impressive record for preparing computer scientists in cyber security by giving them the skills and training needed to address the unique challenges of this highly specialized field.

Lily Wong

Before finishing her BU degree in computer science, Lily Wong was already working as a software systems engineer at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts. Since joining MITRE, Wong has supported the National Security Engineering Center with a number of key projects related to mobile computing, applied cognitive neuroscience, and 3D reconstruction.

In the summer before her senior year, Wong was an intern at MITRE, working with web services for mission planning. As an undergraduate, Wong also worked as a summer intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where she served as assistant to the chief technology officer in researching new technologies. While there, she was a member of a team that assessed social media use at the center.

As a computer science student, Wong studied artificial intelligence, social network algorithms, networks, cryptography, and network security. Outside of class, she was a production assistant at BU’s Tsai Performance Center.

David Seidman

Most users of Microsoft products have encountered security updates or “patches” the software company pushes out each month. As a senior security program manager for Microsoft’s Security Response Center (MSRC), David Seidman ensures those security updates reach end-users in a timely manner to fix high-priority security incidents, such as active attacks using software vulnerabilities.

Seidman’s interest in computer science and cyber security began as an undergraduate computer science major at Boston University. Since joining Microsoft, Seidman has worked on solving security problems for a wide range of programs and applications. Prior to his role as a senior program manager for the MSRC, Seidman managed the development of Microsoft Office security updates and service packs. He has also been involved in projects to counter a number of high-visibility cyber security threats, including Stuxnet, the first publicly known military-grade computer virus allegedly produced by the United States and Israel to damage Iran’s nuclear refining capability; Flame, an alleged government spying virus; and multiple alleged targeted attacks by foreign governments against United States defense contractors. When Stuxnet was first analyzed by Microsoft, Seidman was attending a conference in Las Vegas, where he recalls learning about the virus’ capabilities in the conference room of a hotel suite. “I’ve never felt more like James Bond,” he recalls. “That is, if James Bond knew what a buffer overrun with heap spray and ROP chain was.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Seidman has a master’s degree in cognitive & neural systems, also from Boston University. When not putting out fires on the Internet and elsewhere for Microsoft, Seidman relaxes by training for triathlons, climbing mountains, practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and brewing his own beer.

Kyle Christopher Brogle

Kyle Brogle was well on his way to becoming a cyber security expert even as an undergraduate in computer science at BU. Working with Associate Professor Leonid Reyzin and Assistant Professor Sharon Goldberg, and collaborating with specialists at NIST and IETF, Brogle had the opportunity do pioneering work on BGPsec, a secure version of the BGP routing protocol that is in the process of becoming the standard for the Internet. (BGP, or Border Gateway Protocol, is the protocol used to make core routing decisions on the Internet. Most Internet service providers must use BGP to establish routing between one another.)

Brogle’s BGPsec research has included building BGPsec routing simulations in perl/python to observe the effect different BGPsec implementation parameters will have on router memory usage and CPU utilization. He also constructed a method to pack multiple routing prefixes into one BGPsec announcement in a way that allows for redaction of prefixes by routers along the path. Results of this work have been presented and discussed at BGPsec working group meetings around the world.

While at BU, Brogle was a leader developing the ACM BUILDS (BU Information Lab and Design Space) Workshop, a university-supported, on-campus collaborative “hackerspace” that gives computer science and engineering undergraduates the tools and resources they need to conduct advanced student-run technology projects. He also led BU’s BUILDS team to the finals in the CSAW cyber security “Capture the Flag” competition.

As an computer science undergraduate, Brogle co-authored a number of academic papers with computer science faculty members. He currently is pursuing an advanced degree in computer science with a focus on network and systems security/cryptography at Stanford University.