As hand-held mobile devices and wireless usage continues to grow world-wide, the risks to users have continued to increase. To help combat these emerging threats, the Center for Cyberspace Research (CCR), located at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), opened two new laboratories on December 5, 2013, the Wireless Exploitation or WiX lab and the Hardware Reverse Engineering lab.
According to Cisco’s Visual Network Index: Global Mobile Traffic Forecast, mobile data traffic grew 70% in 2012 and is nearly twelve times the size of the entire global internet in 2000. CCR affiliated faculty and research engineers are educating and equipping graduate students to defend the United States against future cyberspace threats involving hand-held mobile devices and wireless technology.
Cyberspace can be categorized into two realms: a physical realm and a logical realm. The physical realm includes “hardware” or electronic circuits and the associated electromagnetic signals they create and process. The logical realm includes “software” which is the ordered set of instructions or logic that tell a computer what to do. These two realms are inextricably connected as software algorithms do not operate without hardware. Likewise, current electronic systems such as mobile phones, wireless tablet computers, gaming systems, and GPS systems, to name a few, incorporate numerous embedded computers which require software to operate.
The new labs are dedicated to DOD-focused research between hardware and software interactions in order to strengthen secure operations and communications in and through cyberspace. This is accomplished with an array of advanced equipment utilized for the sensitive electronic and wireless communications devices preventing device malfunctions and ensuring research tests and data collection accuracies. This research will be critical as the DOD continues to forge a new path into the ever evolving cyberspace warfighting domain.
The mission of AFIT is to advance air, space, and cyberspace power for our armed forces, the Nation, and its partners by providing relevant defense-focused technical graduate and continuing education, research, and consultation. AFIT accomplishes this mission through three resident schools: the Graduate School of Engineering and Management, the School of Systems and Logistics, and The Civil Engineer School. AFIT also manages all Air Force health, line, legal, and chaplain graduate education at civilian institutions.