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New VCU engineering test beds will boost security of state’s NextG, medical devices and smart cities – VCU News


The Commonwealth Cyber ​​Initiative helped fund three new test beds at Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering to help researchers and industry colleagues analyze the security of medical devices, NextG applications and smart city operations.

The test beds were created under the leadership of Erdem Topsakal, Ph.D., director of the CCI Central Virginia regional node and a professor and chair of VCU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“These test beds will benefit researchers – both teachers and students – as well as the commonwealth in general,” Topsakal said. “They help support and encourage entrepreneurship and spin-off companies that reinforce the CCI’s purpose to support the advancement of workers across the commonwealth.”

The new test beds are:

  • The NextG test bed, which provides radio silence that allows 5G experiments in a remote environment.
  • Medical Device Security test bed, which tests commercial medical devices to detect and provide suggestions for mitigating vulnerabilities.
  • The OpenCyberCity test bed, which runs experiments involving intelligent towns and autonomous vehicles in a realistic, small town landscape.

“Cybersecurity needs to be woven into the tools that connect our lives – from hospital beds to the cars we drive,” said Luiz DaSilva, Ph.D., executive director of the Commonwealth Cyber ​​Initiative, a industry networks, higher education and economic development partners that serve as engines for research, workforce development and innovation at the intersection of cybersecurity, autonomous systems and intelligence.

“The new VCU test beds increase the CCI network’s ability to evaluate technology and applications from industry and government partners before they are commonly used,” DaSilva said. “The test beds will also provide meaningful learning experience opportunities for students to prepare them for a career in cybersecurity.”

A 1:12 scale model, OpenCyberCity is a smart city test bed where students can learn about some aspects of modern smart cities. The test bed consists of data collection and processing units, database management, distributed performance management algorithms, and real-time data visualization, said Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., project director and VCU electrical and computer engineering professor.

“The test bed provides a near-real-life platform to allow students to learn about the unique features of smart cities and explore supporting technologies,” he said. Six graduate students are working on OpenCyberCity-related projects.

The Intelligent Transportation System of the smart city test bed includes autonomous vehicles and intelligent infrastructure.

“Students and researchers will be able to experiment with algorithms that ensure the safety, efficiency and security of these systems,” said Patrick Martin, Ph.D., VCU electrical and computer engineering assistant professor. “In the future, we also plan to add micro-unmanned aerial vehicles to expand transportation use cases to include urban air movement as well as emergency response.”

The OpenCyberCity test bed connects to the Medical Device Security test bed via a firewall. Wearable appliances, beds and other equipment with sensors can help many people age in the area, said Lauren Linkous, a VCU electrical and computer engineering doctoral student who works in Medical Device Security. test bed at the university with fellow doctoral student Erwin Karincic. However, these devices must have cybersecurity included in the design from the beginning. That’s not always the case, Linkous said.

“Security is sometimes treated in the end,” he said. It provides an opening for bad actors to hack into sensitive systems, possibly cheating or cheating on what really happened to someone or putting them at risk.

The NextG test bed is the place to evaluate networked underpinnings in most advanced applications in smart cities and medical devices. Researchers are working to identify the signals emitted by medical devices being attacked, which will help create detection systems to secure medical devices in networked care environments. in health.

In addition, researchers at the NextG test bed are building and describing new magnetic materials, which could prove useful for radio frequency shielding and power dissipation as used in telecommunications, security, medical and smart devices. application in the city, said Jonathan Lundquist, a VCU electrical and computing. doctoral student in engineering.