Research Foundation News

December 20, 2017

Expert offers tips on computer systems reliability, security

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A computer systems researcher who earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University is available to talk about solutions for improving reliability and security of computer systems, especially when it comes to the Internet of Things and cloud.

Vinai Sundaram is the CEO and co-founder of SensorHound Inc., a startup that uses intellectual property licensed from Purdue to provide software solutions to monitor operational health and detect malicious intrusions in Internet of Things (IoT) devices involving smart grids, smart homes and smart manufacturing.

“Security breaches and software failures can be extremely costly in both time and money as well as in terms of safety,” Sundaram said. “Cybercriminals are constantly looking to attack vulnerabilities. The good news is that there are ways people and businesses can protect their information.”

Tips on what a business or individual can do to protect themselves:

  • One size doesn't fit all. There is no one cybersecurity solution for all kinds of systems at all times because of the huge attack surface.
  • Layer up. Every layer in an IoT device needs to be protected. For example, hardware, operating systems, network and application needs to be protected.
  • Monitor your infrastructure. Cyber security is a cat-and-mouse game between businesses and attackers. Attackers are always looking for weak links to penetrate. Therefore, it is essential to implement solutions that constantly monitor your infrastructure of computing devices. 
  • People are often the weakest links. Make sure that employees use strong passwords and change them often. Also make sure employees follow security protocols, they are careful with their business email and that you educate them about cybersecurity.
  • Do the basics. Make sure each computer in a business is equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and are updated regularly. Protect internet connections by using firewalls, secure Wi-Fi and encryption.
  • Contingency planning is a must. Assume your infrastructure will be attacked and have a plan in place for dealing with different levels of attacks.

Security researchers have been warning for years that the increasing number of devices being hooked up to the internet presents a risk. In October 2016, a coordinated cyberattack by a network of IP cameras and DVRs infected with malware took down parts of the internet. A bipartisan group of senators has called on Congress to adopt security standards for internet-connected devices bought by the government in an attempt to protect the nation’s computer systems from cyberattacks.

For those who need software and other support systems to protect themselves and their businesses, SensorHound has developed technology that automatically and proactively monitors for anomalous device behaviors and provides alerts when detection of anomalies occurs. The company also provides products to securely and reliably connect IoT devices to the cloud servers. These solutions help IoT device manufacturers and operators to significantly reduce their time to market and cost of ownership.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, 

Source: Vinai Sundaram, 408-940-5651, Ext. 701  

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