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CERIAS faculty singled out for cybersecurity honors

March 1, 2023

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The cybersecurity work of four Purdue researchers has been recognized with prestigious awards. Each honoree is affiliated with CERIAS, Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, and the Department of Computer Science.

Bianchi, Celik receive second Google ASPIRE award

For the second consecutive year, Google has given its ASPIRE (Android Security and Privacy REsearch) award to computer science assistant professors Antonio Bianchi and Berkay Celik for their work to improve the security and usability of the Google permission system, Wear OS. ASPIRE, which was launched in 2018, stated its goal in the Google Security Blog as “the development of new security and privacy technology that impacts the Android ecosystem in the next two to five years, but isn’t planned for mainline Android development.”

The researchers are addressing problems with the system’s usability, user understanding and unclear security in its management of wearable devices, such as smartwatches. The two will perform what will be the first systematic analysis of the interaction of the Android/Wear OS permission models.

Celik is co-director of the PurSec Lab. His research investigates the design and evaluation of security for software and systems, specifically on emerging computing platforms and the complex (physical) environments in which they operate.

Bianchi is an expert in the analysis of vulnerabilities in mobile applications, Internet-of-Things devices and binary programs, and in the development of vulnerability mitigation techniques. Bianchi has developed novel dynamic and static analysis techniques to detect specific vulnerabilities in mobile applications and IoT devices.

Li receives Outstanding Contributions Award

Ninghui Li, the Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science, has received the 2022 Outstanding Contributions Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. The award was given by ACM’s Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control.

Li, who also serves as associate department head, was recognized for his significant contributions to computer and communication security through his seminal research in data security and privacy, as well as his teaching and student mentoring, and his professional development activities, such as leading professional societies and conferences.

A fellow of both the ACM and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Li joins other Purdue computer science faculty members, Elisa Bertino, the Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science, and Eugene Spafford, professor of computer science and Emeritus Director of CERIAS, who also won this award in 2014 and 2006. respectively.

Seigfried-Spellar receives Jefferson Award

The Purdue Office of Engagement has given its 2023 Jefferson Award to Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, associate professor of computer and information technology in the university’s Polytechnic Institute. Jefferson Awards recognize and celebrate Purdue faculty and staff for meaningful public engagement with their communities.

Spellar is an expert in combating internet crimes against children. She partners with law enforcement agencies nationwide to develop digital forensic tools to meet their needs. Her efforts have contributed to the creation of forensic tools FileTSAR, FileTSAR+ and the Chat Analysis Triage Tool. These tools help identify high-priority cases involving child sex offenders based on linguistic differences between contact-driven and non-contact-driven child sex offenders.

Spellar also advocates for the mental health of law enforcement and digital examiners. She received a 2022-23 Fulbright Scholar Award to collaborate with the University of Valencia and Spain’s secretary of state for security to analyze chats from child sex offender cases in Spain. Those who nominated Spellar for the Jefferson Award cited her “vision, tenacity and dedication.”

Writer/Media contact: Amy Raley,

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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