UAB - The University of Alabama at Birmingham


A $2.15 Million NSF SFS Grant Led by Dr. Saxena

sfs-certDr. Saxena, as the lead investigator, has been awarded a $2.15 million grant from the NSF Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. The grant will support, via highly paid scholarships (about $50K, a year per student, in tuition, stipends and perks), several Masters students pursuing cyber security degrees, especially the MS CFSM program (which Dr. Saxena has been co-directing for many years now) over the next 5 years. Co-investigators include: Drs. Bangalore, Zheng and Walker.

NSF SFS is a highly competitive program, and with this grant UAB joins an elite group of universities doing cutting-edge work to prepare a US cyber workforce ready to fight out and (hopefully) win cyber wars with malicious attackers out there in the wild!


UAB News Release





Paper accepted to FC 2017

PEEP: Passively Eavesdropping Private Input via Brainwave Signals
Ajaya Neupane, Md. Lutfor Rahman and Nitesh Saxena
In Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC), April 2017.


Paper accepted to WWW 2017

Highly reputed conference. Bone chilling competition — only 17% acceptance rate (164 accepted out of 966 submissions). Congratulations to the SPIES Neuro Security team.

Neural Underpinnings of Website Legitimacy and Familiarity Detection: An fNIRS Study.
Ajaya Neupane, Nitesh Saxena and Leanne Hirshfield
In Security and Privacy Track, the World-Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2017.



Dr. Saxena to Receive the Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award

Dr. Saxena will be receiving the Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award at the April 2017 ceremony.

A mentor is not just an educator. A mentor is a person who inspires and motivates. A mentor is committed to excellence. The Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award recognizes full-time regular UAB faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments as mentors of graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows.



Journal paper accepted to IEEE TIFS

SMASheD: Sniffing and Manipulating Android Sensor Data for Offensive Purposes.
Manar Mohamed, Babins Shrestha and Nitesh Saxena
In IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (TIFS), 2016.

Top journal. Extension of our CODASPY’16 paper. Also see:




Two PhD Graduates and Forever SPIES

Manar Mohamed and Babins Shrestha recently finished their PhD degrees doing some excellent work. Babins is joining VISA as a Senior Information Security Analyst, and Manar will be joining the instructional faculty of Computer Science at the Temple University. Both graduated rather quickly, in nearly 4 years.

Congratulations to the newly hooded doctors and best wishes for the great times ahead of you. You will be missed!

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Latest Media Coverage

Research finds novel defense against sophisticated smartphone keyloggers, by Tiffany Westry:

In this work, we have developed a practical defense against smartphone touchstroke logging attacks, which may become a serious problem in the near future (just like keyloggers in the realm of traditional computers). The paper was presented at a premier venue on mobile and wireless security, WiSec, later this summer.


Two papers accepted to ACSAC 2016

The SPIES team has two papers accepted to ACSAC. Great conference, and an acceptance rate of  only 22.8% (48/210).

  1. Gametrics: Towards Attack-Resilient Behavioral Authentication with Simple Cognitive Games
    Manar Mohamed and Nitesh Saxena
    In Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), December 2016.
  2. Theft-Resilient Mobile Payments: Transparently Authenticating NFC Users with Tapping Gesture Biometrics
    Babins Shrestha, Manar Mohamed, Sandeep Tamrakar and Nitesh Saxena
    In Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), December 2016



Paper accepted to CCS 2016

The Sounds of the Phones: Dangers of Zero-Effort Second Factor Login based on Ambient Audio. Babins Shrestha, Maliheh Shirvanian, Prakash Shrestha and Nitesh Saxena. ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), October 2016.

Fierce competition: only 16% papers accepted (137 out of 831).




Two papers accepted to WiSec 2016

SPIES lab has two papers accepted to WiSec, 2016, a premium venue for mobile and wireless security research.

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