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Lisa Mathews

Lisa Mathews

Major: M.S. Computer Engineering, Ph.D. Computer Science ’15

What is it about Cybersecurity and Information Assurance that appeals to Ph.D. student Lisa Matthews? “They are challenging fields that provide many opportunities to apply one’s knowledge and skill set to tackle various security issues or vulnerabilities,” explains Lisa. “Protecting computers and information from various threats is an important function, especially given the number of security attacks that have happened and are likely to occur.”

Lisa thinks that a new wave of “low-and-slow” attacks—ones that surreptitiously strike in different phases and can spend days, weeks, or even months weakening a system’s defenses–are a big threat. “These are difficult to detect, hard to contain, and can do considerable damage before they are stopped.” In fact, Lisa is working towards a solution to these types of attacks with her thesis research. “My current research is focused on taking a semantic approach to intrusion detection by combining data from various sources, integrating data, and performing additional analysis using a knowledge base that would enable the detection of a threat or attack. This method should prove to be useful in stopping attacks that follow a low-and-sow intrusion pattern.”

After graduating, Lisa hopes to work for one of the Department of Defense agencies. “My dream job is one where I can continue research on the constantly evolving fields of information assurance and cybersecurity,” she says. “This scholarship is providing me a great opportunity to attain this job.”