Manuel Egele Earns NSF CAREER Award

By Colbi Edmonds

Portrait of Manuel Egele
ECE Professor Manuel Egele

Professor Manuel Egele received a National Science Foundation Career Award for a project that will be investigating the Internet of Things (IoT). The devices that make up IoT are becoming increasingly more common in our day-to-day lives and range from remote-controlled power sockets to smart fridges and self-driving cars. However, the security of these devices is typically not the primary concern of their manufacturers. The task of improving the security falls on researchers and practitioners who recognize the security faults and motivate manufacturers to patch them.

Egele’s project is focused on a new category of analysis techniques with which researchers will be able to analyze the privileged code (including the operating system itself) running on these devices and find bugs and vulnerabilities that can compromise their security. Locating and patching these vulnerabilities will eventually lead to more secure and trustworthy IoT gadgets. Increased device security will be beneficial in helping to avoid large-scale cybersecurity attacks, such as Mirai where hackers compromised tens of thousands of home routers and digital video recorders to cause havoc on the Internet by taking Twitter, Netflix, and others offline for half a day.

Additionally, Egele will use his NSF CAREER grant to aid in the work of BU’s Codebreakers summer program, where high school students learn about computer science and cybersecurity. Importantly, this grant will also support graduate and undergraduate student research towards the goal of securing the IoT.

Among other awards, Egele also earned a 2020 Engineering Early Career Research Award and a distinguished paper award for his work entitled “PiOS: Detecting Privacy Leaks in iOS Applications.” He has also been a Hariri Junior Faculty Fellow.