Hopkins Research Scientist Lanier Watkins awarded Best Paper Award at IEEE UEMCON 2020

November 24, 2020

Lanier Watkins, Senior Cyber Security Research Engineer

Lanier Watkins, a team of cybersecurity experts, and students from the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute recently received two Best Paper Awards at IEEE UEMCON 2020.  Held virtually this year from October 28 – 31, the annual conference provided researchers, educators, and students a platform to discuss and exchange ideas on issues, trends, and developments in computing, electronics, and mobile communication.

Watkins research, “A Block Box Approach to Inferring, Characterizing, and Breaking Native Device Tracking Autonomy” introduced the team’s black box approach, which can accurately infer, characterize, and break native device autonomy. The team demonstrated the approach by using the tightly guarded autonomy code in the immensely popular computer vision driven autonomous DJI drones (i.e. ActiveTrack Mode) as the target native autonomy. These findings could be useful when securing future autonomous systems in robots, drones, and self-driving cars.

“The paper offers a framework to define and characterize autonomy. It also demonstrates how easily the vision system in very stable autonomous systems can be subverted,” said Watkins.

In the other winning paper, titled “Using Deep Learning to Identify Security Risks of Personal Mobile Devices in Enterprise Networks,” Watkins and team presented a deep learning model to detect mobile malware. This model was an enhancement to previous work; it was built using more features and trained using hundreds of malicious and legitimate applications. This improved model demonstrated the ability to remotely detect unseen threats across multiple families of malware.

“This paper demonstrates the feasibility of patent #10567398 ‘Method and Apparatus for Remote Malware Monitoring.’ The method is a hybrid host and network based intrusion detection system for mobile devices, which does not require any software to be executing on the mobile device itself,” said Watkins.

IEEE UEMCON brings together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds to emphasize the dissemination of ongoing research in the fields of Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics, and Mobile Communication. Research papers are invited describing original work in the above-mentioned fields and related technologies.


JHU Information Security Institute