MIT researchers attack wireless shortcomings, phishing
Information Technology Conference addresses business partners
Network World - MIT assistant professor Dina Katabi says incremental increases in wireless network throughput just aren't going to cut it. Colleague Rob Miller says phishing attacks continue to get trickier and more threatening, and that a "Web wallet" could be the answer to safer e-commerce.
They are two of more than a dozen MIT faculty members presenting their latest research this week at the MIT Information Technology Conference to an audience of business representatives whose companies partner with the university to exchange ideas and transfer technologies from labs into the real world.
Katabi, a member of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, focused during her presentation Tuesday on a project to boost wireless network performance that involves a practice called opportunistic coding, or COPE. To meet expanding demands on wireless networks, she says a breakthrough is needed: one that won't just involve a 10 percent increase in throughput or even what the latest 802.11 iterations might bring. "We need a severalfold increase," she said.
Key to pulling this off is treating wireless like wireless, and taking advantage of its shared nature and broadcast capabilities rather than force-fitting it to work like a point-to-point wired nets. She also is advocating a system that gives routers responsibility for mixing or coding the packets it receives and then shooting them out to a dynamic set of senders and receivers that all take a listen for new traffic to determine if the traffic is for them or a neighbor.
Early experiments with the wireless technique have shown significant throughput increases. She said her group saw a doubling of throughput in a very small setting and as much as fourfold in an experiment using UDP traffic involving 34 nodes on three floors of an MIT building. In response to a question about whether the technology has made it into any commercial products, Katabi stressed that the work is still in its early stages.
Miller, in his presentation, concentrated on phishing, which he acknowledged "seems to be pretty effective" judging by the number of people who have acknowledged falling prey to such schemes and the fact that the number of phishing sites on the Web has skyrocketed over just the past year.
His group has examined the effectiveness of assorted anti-phishing systems, such as toolbars that aim to block phishing messages or alert users that they might be getting played by a crook by signaling "red" or stop at the sign of a questionable site. One experiment involved bringing users into a lab where they were told security was to be a key part of their "job" as a personal assistant handling e-mails sent to their employer. Some toolbars worked better than others, such as those featuring SSL verification or providing an indicator of a potentially fraudulent site. But at least a third of the spoofs worked in all cases before users were given a security tutorial and even after they were educated, between 15% and 35% of the spoofs still worked. "The upshot was that toolbars don't really work too well," he said.
- The Opportunities and Challenges of the Cloud In this report F5 poses questions to IDC analysts, Sally Hudson and Phil Hochmuth, on behalf of F5's customers to better understand the...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- The Truth About Cloud Security "Security" is the number one issue holding business leaders back from the cloud. But does the reality match the perception?
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!