Data Science News
Spying on the Spy: Security Analysis of Hidden Cameras
When you purchase an IP-based spy (hidden) camera for surveillance, are you aware that others may be spying on what you are watching? Recent research by Samuel Herodotou in the Department of Computer Science, Warwick, as part of his third-year undergraduate dissertation project under the supervision of Professor Feng Hao, has revealed a wide range of vulnerabilities of a generic camera module that has been used in many best-selling hidden cameras. Exploiting these vulnerabilities, an attacker may capture your hidden camera's video/audio streams from anywhere in the world, and furthermore, take complete control of the camera as a bot to attack other devices in your home network. To launch the attack, all the attacker needs to know is merely your hidden camera’s serial number. It is estimated that these vulnerabilities affect millions of hidden cameras, mostly sold in America, Europe and Asia. The (insecure) peer-to-peer network that is used by the affected cameras is also being used by 50 million IoT devices as a general communication platform. Hence, many millions of other IoT devices may also be affected. Researchers have responsibly disclosed findings to the manufacturers, and a CVE has already been assigned. Samuel will present this research work at the 17th International Conference on Network and System Security (Canterbury, UK, 14-16 August 2023). More details can be found in the paper.
Latest academic promotions
We are happy to announce five promotions in the department, with effect from 1st August 2023.
- Dr James Archbold has been promoted to Associate Professor (Teaching Focussed)
- Dr Richard Kirk has been promoted to Assistant Professor (Teaching Focussed)
- Dr Claire Rocks has been promoted to Reader (Teaching Focussed)
- Dr Ian Saunders has been promoted to Associate Professor (Teaching Focussed)
- Dr Sathya Subramanian has been promoted to Assistant Professor (Research Focussed)
Many congratulations to our colleagues for all their achievements!
SC22 Best Visualization Award Win for the Full Aero-Engine Compressor Visualization by Warwick Researchers
Numerical simulations and visualizations developed by researchers from the High Performance and Scientific Computing (HPSC) group at Warwick’s Department of Computer Science in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, PPCU Hungary and Universities of Surrey and Birmingham has won the award for the best Visualization in the Scientific Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase at the 2022 Supercomputing (SC) Conference, held in Dallas TX. SC is the premier international conference on supercomputing providing a major forum for presenting the highest level of accomplishments in high-performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis. It is held annually in the US and attended by over 10000 attendees from all over the world.
Full Aero-Engine Compressor Visualization Selected as Finalists for the SciVis Showcase at the Supercomputing 2022 Conference
Numerical simulations and visualizations developed by researchers from the High Performance and Scientific Computing (HPSC) group led by Dr. Gihan Mudalige at Warwick’s Department of Computer Science in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, PPCU Hungary and Universities of Surrey and Birmingham have been selected as one of the six finalists for the Scientific Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase at the 2022 Supercomputing (SC) Conference, held in Dallas TX. SC is the premier international conference on supercomputing providing a major forum for presenting the highest level of accomplishments in high-performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis. It is held annually in the US and attended by over 10000 attendees from all over the world. A video regarding the work can be found here.
End-to-end verifiable online voting to be trialled in New Town, India
From this Saturday (1 Oct to 5 Oct 2022), local residents of New Town, Kolkata, India will be able to use their mobile phones to vote for their favourite puja (a festival decoration for worshipping) as part of the annual Durga Puja festival celebration. New Town is a modern satellite city of Kolkata with about one million population. Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals in India, especially in Kolkata.
The online voting system implements a cryptographic protocol called DRE-ip, which was proposed by Dr Siamak Shahandashti and Professor Feng Hao in 2016 in an ERC-funded project. This protocol ensures that the e-voting system is end-to-end verifiable, hence giving every voter a chance to verify the tallying integrity of an election. The DRE-ip protocol was previously used in a Gateshead e-voting trial for polling station voting in 2019. This time it will be trialled for online voting, supported by a Royal Society international collaboration grant and University Policy Support Fund in collaboration with Professor Bimal Roy of the Indian Statistical Institute and the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), West Bengel, India.
The online voting system has been developed by a group of 2021/2022 Master of Engineering (MEng) students (Horia Druliac, Matthew Bardsley, Chris Riches and Chris Dunn) in the Computer Science department as part of their MEng group project. The same group of students won the 2022 Innovation award.
1st Place at Zero Cost NAS Competition
Our teams from Warwick DCS have won both the 1st and 2nd place at the Zero Cost NAS Competition held in conjunction with the AutoML'22 conference.
Over the recent year, Neural Architecture Search (NAS) has attracted a lot of attention. While being able to automate the discovery of better performing neural architectures than hand-crafted ones, it comes at a great price, requiring thousands of GPU hours to perform the search. The Zero Cost NAS competition challenges the participants to design efficient proxies for NAS, using negligible computational resources to evaluate neural architectures.
In collaboration with the AutoCAML team at Samsung AI Cambridge (led by Dr. Hongkai Wen), our research students, Lichuan Xiang and Youyang Sha, proposed new zero-cost NAS metrics that exploit the compressibility of neural networks. Our metrics are extremely efficient to run (reducing search cost from weeks/days to minutes), and achieves impressive results across multiple search spaces and datasets. In the competition, our teams won both the 1st and 2nd places (using different scoring functions), and the performance gap with the 3rd winning team is almost 2x. Checkout our poster here.
Oral Evidence to the House of Lords on Telephone Frauds and Countermeasures
On 23rd June 2022, Professor Feng Hao of the Systems and Security research theme was invited as one of the two expert witnesses to give oral evidence to the Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud Committee appointed by the House of Lords at Parliament on trends of telephone frauds and the landscape of counter-fraud technologies. This is related to an ongoing EPSRC project, led by Professor Feng Hao (PI) from the Department of Computer Science and Dr Adrian von Mühlenen (co-I) from the Department of Psychology, the University of Warwick. In this project, the research team have been investigating a cost-effective solution to combat caller ID spoofing, a technique commonly used by fraudsters and scammers to pretend to call from trusted sources (e.g., banks, HMRC) as part of social engineering attacks. A transcript of the oral evidence session is published on the Parliament website.