ASU engineer Adam Doupé looks to safeguard personal data through advanced automated vulnerability analysis tools

August 7, 2017

Nowadays, when a person wants to buy something over the internet they will type in their credit-card information, name and address without giving it a second thought. But a single vulnerability in a web application can allow an attacker to steal that personal information.

Adam Doupé, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, wants to develop tools that can automatically find such vulnerabilities in a web application, so they can be found and remedied before an attacker can exploit them. Download Full Image

Doupé is developing these tools as part of a five-year, $416,585 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, “Next Generation Black-Box Web Application Vulnerability Analysis.”

“The inspiration for this project was my own experiences as a penetration tester for web applications,” said Doupé. “I realized that, as a human, when I am interacting with a web application, I am not only building a mental model of how the web application works, but I’m also trying to understand how the code of the web application was written. This is essentially reverse engineering the code of the web application.”

Doupé wondered if this idea could be applied to an automated tool. Could an automated tool reverse engineer the code of the web application simply through interacting with it?

“It turns out that there is a branch of machine learning, called inductive programming, that could help,” said Doupé. “Therefore, the project idea is to apply inductive programming techniques to automatically reverse engineer the source code of a web application, simply through interacting with it, then to identify vulnerabilities in the reverse-engineered source code of the web application. This should result in smarter tools that can find vulnerabilities as well as a human.” 

The growing need for secure data solutions keeps research such as Doupé’s in high demand.

“I think that the proposal was chosen because it features the combination of interesting and diverse research areas that are applied to an area with great impact,” Doupé said.

The excitement and potential of innovations helped draw Doupé to ASU.

“Everyone I talked to was positive and excited about their research,” said Doupé. “I knew that I wanted to be a part of the ASU family.”

ASU’s robust support system helped Doupé put together the successful proposal. He credits Steven Ayer, assistant professor of construction management and engineering; Stacy Esposito, director of Research Advancement in the Fulton Schools; and his fellow computer science and engineering faculty in helping to strengthen the proposal.

Erik Wirtanen

Web content comm administrator, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU announces international tech leader as new chief information officer

August 7, 2017

Arizona State University has selected Lev Gonick, an internationally recognized leader in innovative technology strategies and solutions, to serve as chief information officer (CIO) starting Nov. 1.

Gonick will lead the University Technology Office (UTO), responsible for providing technology services and support to ASU’s more than 72,000 on-campus students, 28,000 online students and 15,000 faculty and staff. Gonick will report to Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost; and Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. He will also hold the rank of professor of practice. Gonick will replace current CIO Gordon Wishon, who retires at the end of the year. man speaking at podium Lev Gonick will serve as ASU's chief information officer starting Nov. 1. Download Full Image

“Under Gordon’s exceptional leadership for the past seven years, ASU’s technology office has met the challenges of a growing, globally connected university,” Searle said. “Lev’s vision, transformational leadership style and track record of innovation will support the university in further realizing the potential of technology to empower the ASU community.”

A model for the New American University, ASU relies on its world-class University Technology Office to ensure students and staff have the resources they need to pursue academic excellence in the face of unprecedented technological advancements. The UTO is the hub for ASU’s “smart campus” initiative, which is leveraging Internet of Things technology, big data and analytics to provide students with a 21st-century higher-education experience.

Gonick will serve in a consulting role prior to starting in his official capacity. Presently, he concurrently serves as chief executive officer of DigitalC, a nonprofit that catalyzes innovative technology for community impact; and OneCommunity, an award-winning organization he co-founded that enables innovation, collaboration and productivity through next-generation broadband networks.

“We are delighted to welcome Lev to ASU,” said Olsen. “Throughout his professional career he has demonstrated a commitment to innovation, creativity and collaboration that aligns with the university’s efforts to redefine the landscape of public higher education.”

From 2001 to 2013, Gonick was chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University, where he and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next-generation network projects and organizational development.

Inside Business magazine named Gonick to its Power 100 list in 2015, and Government Technology recognized him as one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation" in 2011. That same year, Crain's Cleveland Business named Gonick one of its "10 Difference Makers" in northeast Ohio and Broadband Properties honored him with a Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals." In 2010, he was honored as "Visionary of the Year" by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. Gonick has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and by CIO Magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

A frequent international speaker and consultant, Gonick serves on the boards of Luminance, Civitas Learning, DigitalC, Coalition for Local Internet Choice, Jewish Family Services Association, Macromedia University, US Ignite, Groundworks Dance Company, Northeast Ohio Sustainable Community Consortium, OneCommunity and New Media Consortium.

“I have long been inspired by the vision and mission of ASU,” Gonick said. “I have the greatest respect for the senior administration and the many faculty and staff I have met on campus. I am genuinely thrilled to join ASU and help chart the ways in which the professional technology community can contribute to the advancement of this innovative university.”

Gonick holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University, a master’s degree in political science from Binghamton University and a doctorate in political science from York University.