What’s Possible

Research Areas

Telecommunication networks are growing in complexity to meet customer demands and to support the increasing number of devices on the Internet and their unique requirements. How to affordably maintain networks while providing high reliability and security is an open problem. The Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences works with network management systems, switches, and routers (edge and core) to research how to efficiently ensure that such telecommunication networks meet the needs of the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense communities.

Quantum communication and distributed quantum sensing and computing networks will require efficient and robust quantum communication and teleportation protocols and capabilities. Quantum information is generated, processed, and stored locally in quantum nodes. At any stage in the development of quantum technologies --- quantum communication, computing, and sensing --- there will be a limit to the capabilities of a single quantum node; surpassing these single-node limitations will require linking multiple nodes together to form a quantum network. In these quantum networks, nodes are linked by quantum channels which distribute quantum entanglement between all of the nodes and transfer quantum information from node to node. The Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences performs research to develop the protocols and technologies necessary to transport quantum information reliably in quantum networks.

The LTS investigates the performance, scalability, and security vulnerabilities of software-defined networks. Projects vary from scaling a WAN product to understand its capacity limitations to writing orchestration software for large data centers. Our research leverages existing tools but we write our own software when necessary (see Both traditional and modern (e.g., machine learning) analytical techniques are used to analyze results.

The active monitoring and defense of Department of Defense networks requires a constant stream of research and development to protect against ever-changing cyber threats. The Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences and its partners conduct research on next-generation tools and techniques for the detection and analysis of cyber-attacks and resilient network infrastructures. We are also interested in new and enhanced capabilities for penetration testing and security assessments.

The LTS investigates RF solutions for small form-factor sensor systems. The team investigates, develops, and tests antenna designs and addresses critical challenges, including how to improve the performance, power efficiency, security and reliability of electronic and microelectronic devices, circuits, and systems. Many of these are constrained by size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements.

Research Papers

As cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, the criminal targeting and criminal use of cloud computing is inevitable and imminent. Similarly, the need for civil forensic analyses of cloud computing has become more prevalent. Forensic investigation of nefarious cloud computing  activities first requires an understanding of the technology and issues associated with the collection of electronically stored information (“ESI”) in the cloud. The misuse of the broad term “cloud computing” has caused some confusion and misinformation among legal and technology scholars, leading to a muddied and incomplete analysis of cloud-based discovery issues. Cases and academic analyses have dealt primarily with popular online services such as Gmail and Facebook, but they omit discussions of commercial cloud computing providers’ fundamental infrastructure offerings. Even worse, legal analysis about electronic discovery is largely devoid of authority concerning cloud-computing services. As cloud computing becomes a large and necessary part of our computing existence, policymakers and jurists should carefully analyze how the law should best approach forensic acquisition and analysis of digital artifacts hosted by remote cloud service providers.

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Despite a growing adoption of cloud computing, law enforcement and the judicial system are unprepared to prosecute cloud-based crimes. This chapter illuminates legal problems in the United States for electronic discovery and digital forensics arising from cloud computing and argues that cloud computing challenges the process and product of electronic discovery. The researchers investigate how to obtain forensic evidence from cloud computing using the legal process by surveying the existing statues and recent cases applicable to cloud forensics. A hypothetical case study of child pornography being hosted in the Cloud illustrates the difficulty in acquiring evidence for cloud-related crimes. For the first time, a sample search warrant is presented that could be used in this case study, and which provides sample language for agents and prosecutors who wish to obtain a warrant authorizing the search and seizure of data from cloud computing environments. The chapter concludes by taking a contrasting view and discusses how defense attorneys might be able to challenge cloud-derived evidence in court.

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We describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of FROST—three new forensic tools for the OpenStack cloud platform. Operated through the management plane, FROST provides the first dedicated forensics capabilities for OpenStack, an open-source cloud platform for private and public clouds. Our implementation supports an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud and provides trustworthy forensic acquisition of virtual disks, API logs, and guest firewall logs. 

Unlike traditional acquisition tools, FROST works at the cloud management plane rather than interacting with the operating system inside the guest virtual machines, thereby requiring no trust in the guest machine. We assume trust in the cloud provider but FROST overcomes non-trivial challenges of remote evidence integrity by storing log data in hash trees and returning evidence with cryptographic hashes. Our tools are user-driven, allowing customers, forensic examiners, and law enforcement to conduct investigations without necessitating interaction with the cloud provider. We demonstrate through examples how forensic investigators can independently use our new features to obtain forensically sound data. Our evaluation demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach to scale in a dynamic cloud environment. 

The design supports an extensible set of forensic objectives, including the future addition of other data preservation, discovery, real-time monitoring, metrics, auditing, and acquisition capabilities. 

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