May 2023

May 2023

FICS Newsletter – Message from the Director

Greetings from the Florida Institute of Cybersecurity (FICS) Research. I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself as Director of the institute in this first newsletter since we transitioned leadership. The very first order of business is expressing my sincere gratitude to Prof. Mark Tehranipoor, the previous and inaugural FICS Research Director, who has changed roles to leading the ECE department at UF. Under Mark’s leadership, FICS Research has become a nation-leading institute with world-class faculty, innovative research, and tremendous outreach to industry and government. Already there are great new initiatives happening in ECE and we all wish Mark the best with these new efforts and look forward to his continued efforts as a member of FICS Research.

 Over the past year, the institute has seen great success with the addition of a new NSF center focused on the security and privacy of marginalized and vulnerable populations, numerous faculty awards, new funded projects, and new members of the institute. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Drs. Baibhab Chatterjee (ECE), Bonnie Dorr (CISE), Matthew Hale (MAE), Eakta Jain (CISE), Kimia Azar (ECE), Hadi Kamali (ECE), and Stacey Steinberg (Law). These exceptional faculty contribute to the growing breadth and depth of the research pursued within FICS Research, and help us continue to grow. On behalf of Dr. Farmiah Farahmandi, our new Associate Director of FICS Research, and I, we invite you to learn more about the impactful research happening in the institute.


Kevin Butler (he/him)

Professor, Computer and Information Science and Engineering

Director, Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) Research

Director, NSF Center for Privacy and Security of Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations (PRISM)

University Term Professor

Welcome New Faculty Members

Join us in welcoming new FICS Research faculty members (clockwise) Kimia Azar, ECE, Baibhab Chatterjee – ECE, Bonnie Dorr, CISE, Matthew Hale, MAEEakta Jain – CISE ,Hadi Kamali – ECEStacey Steinberg, Law, to the FICS Research team! To learn more about them and their research visit our Faculty page.

New PRISM Center focusing on Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations

FICS Research in collaboration with the University of Washington, Indiana University Bloomington, and Max Planck Institute for Software Systems was recently awarded a 7.5 million NSF project grant focusing on Privacy and Security for Marginalized Populations. Entitled PRISM, the goal of the center is to change the fundamental approach to both privacy and security in computing so these communities are considered the norm rather than the exception, or even an afterthought. Along with FICS Director Dr. Butler, the collaboration will include FICS Research faculty members CISE Professor Patrick Traynor, whose research specializes in cellular and voice-based systems and payment systems, and, CISE associate professor, Eakta Jain whose research involves human-computer interaction and virtual reality.
Full Article Here. To learn more about this new center visit the page here.

Student Spotlight

FICS Research student Gabriella Neris, president of the University of Florida (UF) Student Infosec Team (UFSIT), and recent UF graduate has accepted a position as a Security Engineer with the software company Hashicorp 
From a young age, Gabriella showed an interest in all things STEM related, and while looking for colleges, she loved that UF had a cybersecurity program.  
When asked about her time with FICS Research she states “Working around people with very diverse levels of research, publication and education transformed my view of coding. My time working with FICS as an undergraduate research assistant taught me to overcome the imposter syndrome and work past it even if I felt intimidated.”
As a Hispanic woman in the coding field, she faced numerous challenges, however, these moments only motivated her even more to achieve her goals, eventually becoming the first female engineer in her family, and securing a position at the prestigious tech firm Hashicorp.

Full Article Here

How Technology can fight digital fakery

Recently, FICS faculty member Dr. Patrick Traynor was interviewed by The Economist on his research with digital deep fakes. 

Full Article here

Congratulations to Associate FICS Director Dr. Farimah Farahmandi in receiving funding from the Office of NavalResearch on her project “SVH: Security Verification of Heterogenous Integration.”

Full article available here: