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NSU Research Spotlight: Cybersecurity

Yair Levy, Ph.D.

Yair Levy, Ph.D.

Driven by a sense of patriotism, Yair Levy, Ph.D., helps the intelligence community address cybersecurity threats. At the same time, he gives ordinary people who are not computer geeks the skills to protect themselves from online predators who are after personal information.

An aeronautical engineer by training, Levy found himself working on a National Aeronautics and Space Administration security project in a university setting when the Internet era dawned in the mid-1990s. As the World Wide Web evolved and expanded, so did his interest in cybersecurity and securing Web-based systems.

Today, he serves as a professor at the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences and director of NSU’s Center for eLearning Security Research. In this role, he has advised the U.S. SecretService, conducted research to help sailors on five U.S. Navy aircraft carriers transition from old to new combat information systems, improved the measurable security skills of more than 300 New York Transit Authority officers, and protected the integrity of a testing company’s online exams.

“I love research not for the sake of doing research, but for producing actionable results,” he explains.

Presently, the center is working on various projects to secure systems, authenticate users, and develop national indices comparing the security of elearning systems. Since cybersecurity is a chess game in which data thieves constantly probe vulnerabilities, Levy figures the need for cybersecurity awareness and education can only increase.

To baby boomers who use smartphones, Levy suggests: “Beware of connecting to free Wi-Fi. Once you click yes to the terms and conditions on an unsecured network at the airport or somewhere else, it becomes possible for someone to download everything on your smartphone.”