Students present at information technology conference in Tacoma

Friday, October 11, 2019

Two Fairmont State University students were able to present their novel research at the 20th Annual ACM: SIG Information Technology Conference in Tacoma, Washington.

Kristina Daniels, a senior math and computer science major from Clarksburg, and Caleb Lutjens, a computer science major with a concentration in cybersecurity from Hickory, North Carolina, along with cybersecurity professor Tom Devine, presented a paper titled Human Risk Factors in Cybersecurity. The work was part of the recent NASA Software Assurance Research Program (SARP) grant that the department of computer science and math received in Spring 201

In the project, they experimented with phishing emails to entice approximately 44 percent of the campus community to click a suspicious hyperlink and coaxed approximately 19 percent of the campus to insert credentials at a spoofed Fairmont State login page. Analysis of the collected data showed that offering cybersecurity awareness training via game or a simple visual document, both created by the student researchers, would lower phishing rates in a statistically significant way.

“Being involved with this research was a very enriching experience. I enjoyed working hands on to expand my knowledge on my computer programming and math analysis skills,” Daniels said. "This also gave me the opportunity to visit a place that I most likely would not have had a chance to visit. I would strongly recommend professors to encourage their students to get involved in research, not only for the research itself, but for the overall experience of being involved in something like this.”

Fairmont State’s SARP grant was managed by four faculty members: Dr. Brian Blackwood, Dr. Tom Cuchta (PI), Tom Devine, and Dr. Robert J. Niichel. All anonymized raw data sets, website code, and the code used to send the e-mails have been placed permanently in a public repository. All NASA SARP grants were administered by Scott D. Benton of the Strategic Communications Office at the Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility.