The State University of New York at Albany (UAlbany) has stood up two new labs to examine the future of open-source intelligence (OSINT) and cybersecurity vulnerabilities in everyday smart devices.

The Open Source Intelligence (OSI) and Hack-Internet of Things (IoT) labs – housed within UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) – adds to the university’s growing research ecosystem.

The OSI Lab, directed by Assistant Professor Stephen Coulthart, will research and analyze open-source techniques and tools in a wide variety of applications such as social media monitoring, digital forensics, and geospatial analysis.

“One does not need to look far to see how the explosion in open-source information is changing how we think about security,” Coulthart said in a press release. “The purpose of this lab is to develop and share best practices around open-source intelligence and prepare the next generation of homeland security professionals.”

The Hack-IoT Lab, which will be directed by Assistant Professor Benjamin Yankson, will examine cybersecurity vulnerabilities in a wide variety of smart devices that are available for consumer purchase.

“We are focused on any small-scale IoT device that can be connected to your home,” said Yankson. “We want to both help consumers understand the privacy risks and work with companies to make their devices more secure.”

Yankson and his team of student interns are investigating and assessing IoT hardware, software, and the all-important nexus between them, with a focus on identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities.

Both labs already are up and running, joining the already half dozen research entities operated by CEHC professors, with more scheduled for launch soon.

“These new labs will play integral roles in our college’s growing research ecosystem,” said CEHC Associate Dean for Research, Gary Ackerman. “Under their dynamic leads, we expect them not only to enhance the current capabilities of CEHC’s other labs and research centers but to stand on their own in making valuable contributions to some of the largest challenges facing 21st-century society.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.