Liao Named Runner-Up for ACM SIGSAC Doctoral Dissertation Award

Atlanta, GA
Xiaojing Liao

Xiaojing Liao

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Xiaojing Liao has been named as a runner-up for the 2018 ACM SIGSAC Doctoral Dissertation Award. Liao is a 2017 Ph.D. graduate of the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and she is now an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Indiana University-Bloomington.

Liao will be honored at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, which will take place October 15-19, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. While at Georgia Tech, she was a member of the Communications Assurance and Performance Group and was advised by Raheem Beyah, who holds the Motorola Foundation Professorship and is the associate chair for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation in ECE. 

The title of Liao’s Ph.D. thesis is "Towards Automatically Evaluating Security Risks and Providing Cyber Intelligence.” Cybercrimes often leave human-readable text traces such as web content or forum posts for interacting with their targets (defrauding victims, advertising illicit products to intended customers) or coordinating with criminals in an attack. Such text content is a goldmine for understanding how a cybercrime happens, the perpetrator’s strategies, capabilities and infrastructures, and even the ecosystem of the underground business. 

In Liao's dissertation, how to automatically discover such text traces and intelligently use them are studied to fight against cybercrimes. This dissertation systematically analyzes the semantic inconsistency present in the communication between criminals and their targets using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, customizing them to various security settings. Such techniques will lead to more effective and timely control of the cybercrimes, detecting ongoing large-scale campaigns, and hitting cybercrimes at their weak links. The dissertation research results were published in top-tier conferences, as well as recognized for their highly practical impacts, as noted by widespread coverage in the popular media, including The New York Times and CNN.

Last revised September 20, 2018