2022 Research Updates
MSC Research Update - August/September 2022
MSC Develops and Tests Smart Buoy in the Hudson River
Research engineers from the MSC and the Sensor Technology and Applied Research (STAR) Center at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed a portable and easy to deploy Smart Buoy equipped with acoustic sensors designed to enable the automated detection of maritime vessel underwater acoustic signatures, including small and low-profile watercraft. The development of the buoy is focused on providing low-cost, near real-time vessel detection.
The buoy utilizes in-house manufactured hydrophones, a microcontroller, and software developed for signal processing. The system also leverages a vast collection of acoustic recordings gathered over the years by the research team. The team is currently testing and evaluating the specialized buoy in a series of deployments in the Hudson River adjacent to the Stevens Institute of Technology campus in Hoboken, NJ.
Using Low-Cost Sensing Platforms and Smart Buoys to Counter Human Smuggling
Prof. Hady Salloum, Director of the Maritime Security Center (MSC), will discuss advancements in the research and development of low-cost sensing suites and smart buoys for the detection of illegal maritime activities and human smuggling, at the
Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking, to be held on September 20-22, 2022, in Houston, TX. The conference, hosted by the Borders, Trade and Immigration Institute (BTI), a DHS Center of Excellence led by the University of Houston, will focus on emerging technologies that can be used to assist law enforcement, intelligence analysts, as well as health and human services professionals, and non-governmental agencies in their efforts to counter human trafficking. Dr. Salloum will present new sensor platforms developed and tested through the MSC. To review the conference agenda and register to attend, please visit the BTI website.
MSC Research Engineers Present Improvements in Acoustic Drone Detection and Offshore Wind Farm Underwater Noise Assessments at ASA Meeting
A team of MSC and STAR Center researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology provided a series of presentations at the 182nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), on May 23-27, 2022, in Denver, CO. The presentations showcased new advancements in the Center’s patented passive acoustic sensing platform, Stevens Passive Acoustic Detection System, for use in measuring underwater noise produced by offshore wind farms. The team also discussed the use of the system for the acoustic surveillance and detection of potential threats to offshore wind farms on or below the water surface (e.g., divers, UUVs, and small vessels), and for the passive acoustic monitoring of marine species. Additional presentations discussed improvements made to an acoustic network used for small drone detection, and the use of directional processing for assessing wind turbine noise. Research papers for each of the presentations have been submitted to the Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. Citations for the team’s papers can be found on the MSC Reports & Publications webpage.
Stevens Professor to Present on Cyber-Physical Risk in Maritime Systems at NATO Conference
Dr. Paul Rohmeyer, Stevens Institute of Technology will present research he is conducting on Cyber-Physical Risk in Maritime Systems at the NATO MIOTC Cyber Security in the Maritime Domain Conference being held September 27 & 28, 2022, in Souda Bay, Crete.
Dr. Rohmeyer, a subject matter expert in risk management, is working with the Maritime Security Center to develop a new course tailored to maritime industry executives focused on Maritime Cybersecurity Enterprise Risk Management. The one-day, instructor-led course will be piloted virtually this coming November as part of the MSC’s education program portfolio. Contact Beth Austin-DeFares at [email protected] to learn more.
MSC to Hold Next Maritime Cybersecurity Course for USCG Personnel on September 22 & 23, 2022
The MSC will host its next Maritime Cybersecurity professional development course for USCG personnel virtually on September 22 & 23, 2022. The instructor-led course provides USCG marine safety personnel with a working knowledge of fundamental cybersecurity concepts and an enhanced awareness of cyber risks, vulnerabilities, and mitigations within the MTS. This is the fourth MSC course held this year tailored to Coast Guard personnel.
MSC Research Update - June/July 2022
USCG Personnel Learn Cybersecurity Concepts and Gain an Understanding of Cybersecurity Risks, Vulnerabilities and Mitigations in MSC-Led Maritime Cybersecurity Course
Since early 2022, the MSC has engaged more that 60 USCG personnel, representing 9 Coast Guard Districts and over 30 Coast Guard Units, in its Maritime Cybersecurity Professional Development course. Developed in collaboration with USCG personnel from USCG Cyber Command-Maritime Cyber Readiness Branch, USCG Office of Port and Facility Compliance, and USCG Sector NY, the objectives of the two-day, instructor-led course are to provide Coast Guard personnel with fundamental knowledge of cybersecurity concepts and terminology, and an increased awareness of cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities, and mitigations within the context of the Maritime Transportation System (MTS).
The professional development course supports the Coast Guard’s workforce cyber training goals and aims to build capacity and create a culture of cybersecurity awareness within the USCG Prevention workforce and across the maritime enterprise. The MSC will host its next virtual course for the USCG on September 22 and 23, 2022. Solicitations for Coast Guard attendees are disseminated through the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance. Their POC is LCDR Leslie Downing. To learn more about the course curriculum, please visit the course webpage at https://www.stevens.edu/research-entrepreneurship/research-centerslabs/maritime-security-center/education-training/maritime-cybersecurity-program.
MSC Invention Leads to Patent Application and New Startup Company
MSC researchers filed for a patent for a technology that was originally developed in the MSC to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel in the detection of wood boring insects in wood packing materials entering the US via various ports of entry.
Through a DHS sponsored effort in collaboration with FedTech to commercialize various technologies, the Wood Boring Insect Detection (WoBID) sensor was selected as one of 10 technologies to undergo a two-phase effort toward commercialization. As a result, a team of entrepreneurs was assigned and is launching a new startup company, AccuSense. The commercial company will pursue a broader application and public use for the sensor to include detection and stopping the spread of invasive wood boring pests in trees.
The team of entrepreneurs is part of a collaboration between the Homeland Security Startup Studio and FedTech, with the goal of bringing the latest in innovation and technology developed in university and federal labs to commercial markets. WoBID was recently tested and validated in field tests conducted in Hudson and Morris Counties in New Jersey, where destructive wood boring insects, including the Emerald Ash Borer have been detected in trees and forest landscapes.
MSC to Launch New Cybersecurity Course for Maritime Industry Executives
The MSC is collaborating with Dr. Paul Rohmeyer, Stevens Institute of Technology to develop a Maritime Cybersecurity Enterprise Risk Management course tailored to non technical/non-IT maritime industry executives. The course aims to provide senior business leaders with foundational concepts in cybersecurity and an understanding of the criticality of cybersecurity to Information Technology and Operational Technology (IT/OT) systems, and their potential impacts to maritime business operations and enterprise risk management.
The MSC will be hosting a by-invitation-only workshop on July 29, 2022, to gather feedback on the course curriculum. Workshop participants will include representatives from the oil and gas, cruise line, shipping, and port and terminal operations sectors. The Maritime Cybersecurity Enterprise Risk Management course will be held virtually and will be available for enrollment in the Fall of 2022. For additional details, please contact MSC's Director of Education, Beth Austin-DeFares at [email protected].
MSC Research Update - February/March 2022
Register to Attend the Next MSC Webinar: Low-Cost Sensor Suite for Combatting Illegal Maritime Activity
Dr. Hady Salloum, Director of the Maritime Security Center will host a webinar on March 23, 2022 from 11am to 12noon (EST) to discuss the development and deployment of a low-cost covert autonomous sensor suite utilizing radar, AIS, electro-optical and infrared cameras, and underwater acoustic sensors that can be installed at remote locations.
MSC Student Teams Awarded First Place and Honorable Mention at DHS COE Hackathon
On February 25-27, 2022, MSC and Stevens Institute of Technology student teams competed in a collaborative DHS Centers of Excellence Hackathon focused on Countering Emerging Threats to Critical Infrastructure. The students were given less than 48 hours to convene into teams and to brainstorm innovative approaches to addressing one of the following three problem areas:
Problem 1: How to Detect Hijacked Autonomous Vehicles
Problem 2: Uncloaking Encrypted Threats to Critical Infrastructure
Problem 3: Finding and Mitigating Advanced Persistent Threats
Throughout the hybrid event, students had the opportunity to meet with subject matter experts from DHS, TSA, FAA, NASA, NUSTL, and US Air Force, among several industry groups as they formulated their approaches to the respective problem statements. At the end of the hackathon competition, the students presented their solutions to an esteemed panel of judges. 74 students from across five DHS Centers of Excellence participated in the event hosted by the CAOE Center of Excellence at Arizona State University.
The MSC and Stevens Institute of Technology student teams received two out of the four awards given by the hackathon judges. The MSC winning teams included a PhD student team from Stevens Institute of Technology who received first place for Problem Statement 1 and a team comprised of Stevens Institute of Technology and Norfolk State University undergraduate students that received Honorable Mention for Problem Statement 3. Student teams from the CAOE and CINA Centers also received first place awards for Problem Statements 2 and 3, respectively.
MSC Invention Selected for Homeland Security Startup Studio (HSSS)
MSC's Wood Boring Insect Detector (WoBID) has been selected by the Homeland Security Startup Studio (HSSS) for further investment, marketing and transition. The WoBID was developed by a team of MSC researchers led by Dr. Hady Salloum, MSC Director to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel to better detect invasive species and wood boring pests at U.S. ports of entry.
The concept for the device was developed during an MSC field visit to CBP facilities at the Port of New York/Newark. During the visit, MSC research PIs and summer research students observed agricultural specialists manually inspecting produce and grains looking for invasive pests and inspecting cargo pallets for wood boring insects. Following the visit, MSC researchers worked with CBP personnel to develop a microwave-based, sensor system that could easily and effectively detect insect movement in bags of grain. The Wood Boring Insect Detector was tested at a few US ports of entry, including Detroit, MI, Laredo, TX, and Newark, NJ. Iterations of the original prototype have led to more sophisticated sensors and use cases.
MSC's engagement in the Homeland Security Startup Studio will include meetings with industry mentors and entrepreneurs to accelerate the development and commercialization of WoBID.
MSC Research Update - January 2022
Join us January 19, at 11AM ET for an MSC Webinar Focused on Multi-Mission Radar for the U.S. Coast Guard
The MSC will host Dr. Hugh Roarty, Research Project Manager, Center for Ocean Observing Leadership and MSC research PI for a webinar discussion on VTS radar systems. Dr. Roarty will review a VTS radar needs assessment and a subsequent evaluation of the state of the science for radar systems he and his team at Rutgers University conducted as part of a DHS-funded research. The webinar is open to DHS personnel and invited guests.
MSC to Deliver a Maritime Cybersecurity Professional Development Course for USCG Personnel on January 27 and 28, 2022
The Maritime Security Center will deliver a virtual two-day, instructor-led Maritime Cybersecurity professional development course for USCG personnel on January 27 and 28, 2022. The professional development course was developed in collaboration with US Coast Guard Cyber Command, the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance (CG FAC), and USCG Sector New York and is designed to provide fundamental cybersecurity knowledge and understanding of emerging threats to enhance vessel and facility security inspections and incident response. Additional course dates are planned for March and May, 2022.
Solicitations for Coast Guard attendees are disseminated through the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance. Their POC is LCDR Leslie Downing and she can be reached at [email protected].
Cybersecurity Risks in Offshore Wind Farms and Data Analytics and Visualization Dashboard ProjectsFollow-on Funding
MSC's Minority Serving Institution (MSI) summer research team partners Dr. Mary Ann Hoppa, Norfolk State University (NSU) and Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, North Carolina Central University (NCCU) have each been awarded DHS Office of University Programs follow-on funding to continue their research projects started in the MSC's Summer Research Institute and conducted as part of the DHS Minority Serving Institute Summer Research Team (MSI SRT) program. The objective of the DHS MSI Summer Research Team program is to increase and enhance the scientific leadership at MSIs in research areas that support the mission and goals of DHS.
At the completion of the ten-week summer research program, MSI faculty can apply for up to $50,000 in follow-on funding to continue their research during the academic year. Over the coming year, Dr. Hoppa, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and her team at NSU will continue to assess cybersecurity vulnerabilities and attack vectors in offshore wind farms. Her research project aims to develop a digital twin of an offshore wind farm that will be used to test and evaluate hypothetical cybersecurity threat scenarios and their potential impacts on the maritime transportation system.
Dr. Malhotra, Associate Professor, Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences and his team at NCCU will leverage the DHS award to continue to build out a data analytics and visualization dashboard that can be used to analyze USCG MISLE data easily and efficiently at Coast Guard sector unit levels. Details regarding Dr. Malhotra and Dr. Hoppa's summer research projects can be found on the MSC Summer Research website under the 2021 program tab.
Captain of the Port of NY/NJ Recognizes MSC Cybersecurity Summer Research Student
Captain Zeita Merchant, Commander, USCG Sector New York and Captain of the Port of NY/NJ presented Tara McLoughlin, MSC Summer Research Institute student with a Certificate of Recognition for her contributions during her internship at Sector New York this past summer.
Over the course of her ten week field-based internship, Tara developed a cybersecurity checklist for marine inspectors, prepared a report on cybersecurity best practices for maritime facilities, and made recommendations for cybersecurity training programs. She also had the unique opportunity to assist a USCG response team in their inspection of a vessel following reports of a possible cyber breach.
The certificate ceremony was held on December 9, 2021 at Sector New York in Staten Island, NY. Tara is an undergraduate student majoring in Cybersecurity at Stevens Institute of Technology. Tara was also recently awarded the Best Undergraduate Student Poster award at the virtual Maritime Risk Symposium, for her poster titled USCG Cybersecurity and Data Analysis Research Internship.
Former MSC Visiting Researcher and Fulbright Scholar Co-authors Peer-reviewed Article on Cyber-Physical Systems Security for Maritime Assets
Iosif Progoulakis, Fulbright Scholar and former visiting researcher with the MSC during the fall of 2019 has co-authored and published a peer reviewed article in conjunction with Dr. Paul Rohmeyer, Stevens Institute of Technology in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The article titled Cyber Physical Systems Security for Maritime Assets discusses cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the convergence between information technology and operational technology and recommends measures for improved risk management and enhanced cybersecurity. A copy of the publication can be found here.
Progoulakis I, Rohmeyer P, Nikitakos N. Cyber Physical Systems Security for Maritime Assets. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2021; 9(12):1384.
Iosif Progoulakis is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Shipping, Trade and Transport at the University of the Aegean, Chios, HellasGreece. During his visit with the MSC, he presented a research poster at the 2019 Maritime Risk Symposium held at SUNY Maritime titled Security Risk Assessment for Offshore Oil and Gas Assets.
2021 Research Updates
MSC Research Update - October/November 2021
Join us on December 8 at 11:00 AM, EDT for an MSC Webinar Focused on Improving the Situational Awareness of Underwater Robots for Security and Inspection Tasks
The MSC is pleased to host Dr. Brendan Englot, Director, Robust Field Autonomy Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology for a webinar discussion on underwater robot perception and navigation in complex maritime and port environments. Dr. Englot will discuss advancements being made in the mapping and pathfinding capabilities of a sonar-equipped, underwater robot to perform efficiently and effectively under significant localization uncertainty. The webinar is open to DHS personnel and invited guests.
MSC Webinar Series to Feature Talks on Sensing Technologies to Counter Maritime and Border Security Threats
The MSC is hosting a series of webinars over the next several months focused on the development, testing and evaluation of sensing technologies used to detect and counter homeland security threats by air, land, and on and below the water's surface. MSC research scientists will discuss operational issues and technology advancements as they pertain to underwater robots, acoustic detection systems, VTS radar, RF Surveillance, and electro-optical and infrared cameras, among other sensor platforms. The first two talks in the webinar series will include:
December 8, 2021 at 11:00 AM (EDT) - See above
January 19, 2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)
Detecting and Countering Small Vessel Threats with VTS Radar, presented by Dr. Hugh Roarty, Rutgers University
The Sensing Technologies to Counter Maritime and Border Security Threats webinar series is open to DHS personnel and invited guests. All webinars will be held via Microsoft Teams.
MSC Student Research Teams Receive Top Honors at the 2021 Maritime Risk Symposium Student Poster Competition
MSC Summer Research Institute students Tricia Camaya, Zaid Abdul-Kaudeyr, Isabel Gutierrez, Tara McLoughlin, Andrew Narvaez, and Samantha Weckesser achieved top honors at the 2021 Maritime Risk Symposium poster competition held virtually November 1-5, 2021. Out of the four MSC posters submitted, two were recognized among the top three submissions in the Maritime Cybersecurity poster track, and two ranked in the top three for the Resilience poster track. Additional recognition was given to Tara McLoughlin for Best Undergraduate Student Poster.
A breakdown of this year's MSC poster winners includes:
MRS Maritime Cybersecurity Poster Track:
Understanding Cybersecurity Risk in Offshore Wind Farms
Student Presenters: Zaid Abdul-Kaudeyr and Tricia Camaya, Norfolk State University (NSU) Mentors: Dr. Mary Ann Hoppa, NSU and Dr. Barry Bunin, Stevens Institute of Technology
USCG Cybersecurity and Data Analysis Research Internship
Student Presenter: Tara McLoughlin, Stevens Institute of Technology
Mentors: Mr. John Hillin, USCG Sector NY and Dr. Barry Bunin, Stevens Institute of Technology
MRS Resilience Poster Track:
Risk Management and Analytics Dashboard
Student Presenter: Isabel Gutierrez, North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
Mentors: Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, NCCU and Dr. Hugh Roarty, Rutgers University
Improved USCG Inspections of Hazardous Cargo
Student Presenters: Andrew Narvaez and Samantha Weckesser, Stevens Institute of Technology
Mentors: Mr. John Hillin and MST1 Christian Applegate, USCG Sector NY and Dr. Barry Bunin, Stevens Institute of Technology
Research conducted by Isabel Gutierrez (NCCU), Tricia Camaya (NSU), and Zaid Abdul-Kaudeyr (NSU) was sponsored by the DHS Minority Serving Institution Summer Research Team program, in conjunction with the MSC's Summer Research Institute. The annual U.S. Coast Guard co-hosted event provides an ideal venue for MSC and other Center of Excellence student talent to present their research and build their professional networks. In addition to this year's awards, MSC's students received 1st and 2nd place best student poster awards at the 2020 and 2019 MRS events.
MSC SRI Student Receives DHS HS-POWER Internship to Continue Research with USCG Sector New York
Following his participation in the MSC's 2021 Summer Research Institute (SRI), Andrew Narvaez, an undergraduate computer science major at Stevens Institute of Technology applied and was selected to participate in the DHS Homeland Security Professional Opportunities for Student Workforce to Experience Research Program (HS POWER). The HS-POWER program has provided an opportunity for Andrew to continue his research started in the SRI in a hybrid (virtual and field-based) internship this Fall 2021 with U.S. Coast Guard Sector NY.
Andrew's internship project focuses on identifying improved methods for targeting hazardous cargo inspections. He is working with Sector NY to develop a unified data collection system that considers USCG, CBP, and National Cargo Bureau hazardous cargo data, and is piloting a cargo inspection algorithm he and his teammates developed during the MSC summer research program. Outcomes from his internship tasks will be documented in a final report to USCG Sector NY and the HS-POWER program administrators. Andrew has accepted an internship offer with JP Morgan Chase during the summer of 2022 but is considering career options with the U.S. Coast Guard following graduation.
MSC Research Update - September 2021
DHS Secretary, Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas Reappoints MSC Director to the National Maritime
Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC)
Dr. Hady Salloum was recently reappointed by the DHS Secretary, Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas, to a three-year term on the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC). This is his second appointment to the Committee. Dr. Salloum will represent the academic community, providing expertise on maritime security research and technology-based solutions, among other related maritime security areas.
MSC Risk Management and Analytics Dashboard Transitioned to USCG Sector NY
A visualization and data analytics dashboard developed in conjunction with a faculty and student research team from North Carolina Central University (NCCU), as part of the DHS Minority Serving Institution Summer Research Team Program, has been transitioned to USCG Sector New York for their evaluation and use.
The Risk Management and Analytics Dashboard is founded upon student research conducted during the MSC's 2019 and 2020 summer research programs. The updated dashboard utilizes ESRI and ArcGIS software and provides a visual display of Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) data over yearly, monthly, and weekly time scales. The dashboard can be used to conduct trend analysis of maritime incidents and for asset planning purposes in the USCG Sector NY AOR.
The NCCU team has applied for DHS follow-on funding to continue their work on developing the data analytics tool. The dashboard can easily be augmented with incident data to cover other USCG Sectors.
The Maritime Security Center is Planning a Series of Maritime Security Research-Focused Webinars Starting Late Fall 2021
The webinars will address topics related to the following:
CUAS Testing and Evaluation Tools
Underwater Robotics for Security and Inspection Applications
Applications for Autonomous Systems for Maritime Security
Detection of Low Flying Aircraft and UAS for Border Security
Low-Cost Sensor for Maritime Border Applications
Low-Cost RF Surveillance for Maritime Security
VTS Radar Technology Gaps
Detection of Invasive Species at US Ports of Entry
Cybersecurity and Offshore Windfarms
Maritime Incident Data Visualization and Analytics
The webinars will be led by MSC researchers and held via Microsoft Teams. The webinars will start late fall and run through the Spring of 2022. Times and dates for the webinar series will be communicated shortly.
MSC is Collaborating with CG-FAC, CG Cyberspace Forces and CG Cyber Command to Roll out the Center's Maritime Cybersecurity Professional Development Course to Coast Guard Personnel
The MSC recently met with representatives from CG-FAC, Cyberspace Forces, and USCG Sector NY to discuss curriculum updates and course delivery dates for the Center’s maritime cybersecurity professional development course. The course is designed to provide fundamental cybersecurity concepts and knowledge within the context of the maritime transportation system (MTS).
The anticipated delivery dates for the two-day virtual course are:
January 27 - 28, 2022
March 17 - 18, 2022
May 12 - 13, 2022
Additional courses may be added, and delivery dates may be modified at the Coast Guard's request.
Offshore Wind Farm Cybersecurity Project Featured at Hack the Sea DEFCON Event
Dr. Mary Ann Hoppa, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Norfolk State University (NSU) was invited to present her team's summer research project focused on cybersecurity vulnerabilities of offshore wind farms at the 2021 Hack the Sea DEFCON event held virtually August 5-8, 2021. Dr. Hoppa's research was conducted as part of the DHS MSI Summer Research Team Program, in conjunction with the MSC's Summer Research Institute.
Throughout the 2021 summer research project, Dr. Hoppa and her student team assessed cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks associated with offshore wind farms being built in US coastal waters. The team's research highlighted several plausible scenarios in which offshore wind farms could be hacked or compromised, causing cascading impacts to the Maritime Transportation System, among other critical infrastructure systems. Dr. Hoppa and her team have applied for follow-on funding to further develop a digital twin of an offshore wind farm to model and simulate hypothetical cyber-attacks and develop mitigation strategies.
The Hack the Sea DEFCON event aims to bring greater awareness into cybersecurity threats and concerns within the maritime domain.
MSC Master's Degree Fellow Receives DHS Peer-to-Peer Recognition Award
Hasan Shahid, former MSC Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellow, and 2011 Summer Research Institute alumni received a DHS Peer-to-Peer Recognition award by his colleagues at the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL). He was honored as one of six Change Agents across DHS. The award allows DHS employees to recognize their peers who have distinguished themselves as leaders, change-makers, and people who make a difference.
Hasan sets a strong example for co-workers through collaboration and technical excellence, motivating those around him and demonstrating his ability to share and apply information to achieve designated outcomes. In his Peer-to-Peer nomination letter, his NUSTL colleagues wrote "Hasan Shahid is the epitome of a Change Agent because he consistently raises the bar for technical excellence, leading by example with a natural ability to engage and motivate teams to achieve quality outcomes."
Prior to joining NUSTL in 2016, Hasan was awarded an MSC master's degree fellowship, funded through a DHS Career Development Grant.
MSC Research Update - July/August 2021
MSC Ends Year Seven with the Development of New Low-Cost RF Surveillance System and Sensor Suite for Remote Locations
The MSC completed a robust research year, having developed prototypes for a new Low-cost RF Surveillance System to detect and localize RF signals from illicit maritime vessels and a Low-cost Sensor Suite that can be deployed in remote on-shore and off-shore locations to detect illegal vessel traffic. The Boat DetectionSystem (BDS) consists of COTS marine radar, an underwater acoustic system prototype, optical/IR cameras, and AIS receivers. The RF Surveillance System and BDS were deployed and tested in the Corpus ChristiAOR and in the Hudson River adjacent to the Stevens campus in Hoboken, NJ.
Year Seven also included the completion of a VTS Radar for Small Vessel Detection project that included the development of an RFI sent to radar suppliers and an analysis of the responses. Another year seven project assessed the security and resilience of the Nation's movable bridge infrastructure. The research project reports are available and may be obtained by contacting [email protected].
The center's annual report is in process and will be made available on the MSC website. The center's Year Eight projects will focus on the development and delivery of maritime cybersecurity education programs for the USCG and maritime stakeholders.
Basic Ordering Agreement Award
DHS S&T awarded Stevens Institute of Technology a five-year Basic Ordering Agreement that allows DHS component agencies to award Stevens and MSC Task Orders to conduct research and education projects related to maritime security.
Visualization Dashboard Developed by MSC Students Allows USCG Sector NY to Display MISLE Data for Efficient Data Analysis
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) graduate studentIsabelle Gutierrez and her faculty mentors Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, NCCU and Dr. Hugh Roarty, Rutgers University developed a data visualization tool using ArcGIS and ESRI software to display USCG MISLE data for the USCG Sector NY AOR. The visualization dashboard allows Sector NY personnel to analyze maritime incident data over weekly, monthly, and yearly timescales, providing enhanced incident trend analysis and asset planning and allocation. The tool was built upon prior research conducted in the MSC 2019 and 2020 Summer Research Institute programs. Sector NY personnel have been provided access to the dashboard and will begin piloting it early this fall.
The summer research project was funded through the DHS MSI Summer Research Team program. The team is applying for follow-on funding to continue to build out the dashboard for other USCG Sector Units. To learn more about the Risk Management and Data Analysis Dashboard, visit the 2021 Summer Research Institute webpage.
Interactive Offshore Wind Farm Learning Tool Provides Insight into Wind Farm Cybersecurity Risks and Vulnerabilities
A faculty and student summer research team from Norfolk State University collaborated with the MSC to develop a web-based Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) Learning Tool to provide important information on offshore wind farms and their cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.
MSC Director Contributes to Bloomberg Government Article on Cyber-Attacks in the MTS
Dr. Hady Salloum, MSC director, was recently interviewed by Bloomberg Government regarding increased ransomware and cyber-attacks against the maritime shipping industry. The article discusses national policy efforts aimed at requiring the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Maritime Administration to provide cyberattack mitigation and recovery resources to the maritime industry. A link to the article can be found here.
SRI 2021 Students Present Research on Hazardous Cargo Inspections, Cyber Risks in Offshore Wind Farms, and Underwater ROV Robot Arms Among Other Topics
Students in the MSC's 12th annual Summer Research Institute presented their research project outcomes to an audience of USCG and DHS stakeholders in a virtual presentation session held on July 8. The student research projects resulted in the development of maritime and critical infrastructure cybersecurity knowledge products and in new technology-based approaches to analyzing maritime incident data and hazardous cargo inspections, as well as new use cases and enhancements for a custom-built ROV.Copies of the student team's research posters, presentation slides and recordings of their presentations can be found on the MSC SRI webpage.
MSC Research Update - May/June 2021
MSC Student Awarded Best Student Poster at the 2021 COE Summit
MSC research assistant Jonathan Adamson ranked 1st Place in the COE Summit Student Poster Competition held virtually on May 17-21, 2021. Out of 34 poster submissions received from across 12 Centers of Excellence (COE), Jonathan received the highest scores for his poster presentation titled "Qualitative Identification of Fentanyl and its Analogs by use of Functionalized Carbon Quantum Dots." Jonathan's research focuses on the use of Carbon Quantum Dots as a less expensive, safer, and more effective method for detecting fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives at U.S. Ports of Entry. Review a copy of Jonathan's poster (#32), together with the other COE student poster submissions.
MSC Student Alumni Discuss their Careers with USCG and NUSTL in COE Student-Focused Workforce Development Panel
Former MSC graduate fellowship students Grace Python, Operations Research Analyst, USCG Research and Development Center, and Blaise Linn, Engineer, National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) met with COE students in a COE Summit panel held on May 18.
The objectives of the "Finding a Place in the Homeland Security Workforce" panel were to connect students with professionals working within the Homeland Security Enterprise and to expose them to the diverse career paths and occupations available to them within the homeland security space. Together with the other panelists, Grace and Blaise discussed their educational backgrounds, their roles and responsibilities within their organizations, their job tasks, as well as provided advice and insight into preparing for and landing a job within the homeland security workforce.
The panel was moderated by Kelli Norton, Mass Communications graduate student and research assistant at Oklahoma State University and the BTI COE.
Summer Research Students Conduct Research in Maritime Cybersecurity, MISLE Data Visualization, Hazmat Cargo Inspections, and other USCG Related Topics in the 12th Annual Summer Research Institute
Students in this year's virtual MSC Summer Research Institute are learning to conduct research while working on projects in collaboration with the Center's DHS and USCG stakeholders. This summer, the MSC is hosting 14 students representing four universities, including two Minority Serving Institution Summer Research Teams (MSI SRT) from Norfolk State University and North Carolina Central University.
The topics for this summer's projects include the following:
BlueROV - Students are working to advance the capabilities of a custom-designed
underwater ROV for use in the inspections of ship hulls, ports, piers, and ATON.
Understanding Cybersecurity Risk in Offshore Windfarms - Students are assessing the
potential for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in offshore windfarms and the threats that
these may pose to maritime operations and the electric power grid.
Improved USCG HAZMAT Container Inspections - Students are analyzing USCG MISLE
data together with other data sets to identify potential improvements in targeting
inspections of hazardous cargo.
Geographic Information Systems and Data Visualization - The student and faculty team
are assessing data collected as part of the MSC's VTS radar project together with MISLE
data to visualize reported maritime incidents that may have gone undetected by VTS
radar systems due to vessel size.
SRI guest speakers to date have included Mr. Bert Macesker, Executive Director, USCG RDC, Mr. Lew Lewandowski, Chief, Environment and Waterways Branch, USCG R&D, Mr. John Hillin, Safety and Security Division Chief, USCG Sector NY, Mr. Kevin Adams, Marine Transportation System Cybersecurity Specialist, USCG First District, and Ms. Stephanie Okimoto, Director, DHS S&T International Cooperative Programs. Additionally, the student teams have met with Dr. Gary Kessler, author Maritime Cybersecurity: A Guide for Leaders and Managers, and with USCG Sector NY Waterways Management personnel.
If you are interested in learning more about the SRI student research projects or would like to participate in the program's weekly project status update sessions, please contact Beth AustinDeFares, MSC director of education at [email protected].
Cybersecurity Student Gains Practical Work Experience during an Internship with USCG Sector NY
MSC's Summer Research Institute student Tara McLoughlin has been afforded the unique opportunity to apply her cybersecurity skills in a field-based internship with the USCG Sector NY. Since starting her internship in May, Tara has observed USCG marine safety personnel conduct facility inspections and recently joined a response team in their inspection of a vessel following reports of a possible cyber breach.
As part of her internship tasks, Tara is reviewing cybersecurity plans and meeting with terminal operators and maritime industry partners in the Port of NY/NJ to better understand their cybersecurity procedures and preparedness. At the end of her internship, Tara will provide Sector NY with a report on cybersecurity best practices, a cybersecurity checklist for marine inspectors, and recommendations for cybersecurity training programs.
MSC Research Update -March/April 2021
Register to Attend the DHS Centers of Excellence Summit being Held on May 17 - 21, 2021
Please join the MSC and check out our exhibit booth at the virtual Centers of Excellence Summit being held May 17-21, 2021. The theme of this year's event is "University Research and Workforce Development for a Safe and Secure Homeland." The Summit will include panel discussions, COE exhibits, live demonstrations, and a Poster Competition and Tabletop Exercise for COE students. There is no cost to attend.
Registration is required: www.coesummit.org
MSC Holds Workshop for MSI Academic Partners on Cybersecurity in the MTS
Dr. Barry Bunin, Research Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, together with MSC's director of education, Beth Austin-DeFares led a virtual workshop for Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and community college educators on April 30, 2021. The objective of the annual workshop series is to share subject matter expertise and provide professional development opportunities and resources for educators working within underrepresented and underserved communities. The workshops also aim to inspire interest and program development in maritime security-related areas. The topic for the April 30 workshop was Cybersecurity in the MTS and other Critical Infrastructure. Attendees included educators from Florida International University, New Jersey City University, Norfolk State University, and Texas Southern University, as well as participants from the Coast Guard's First District, Sector New York, USCG Academy, and DHS S&T.
MSC's 12th Annual Summer Research Institute
The MSC will host its 12th annual Summer Research Institute from May 17 to July 9, 2021. This year’s program will include 14 students representing four US universities. This summer's student research projects will include:
Understanding cybersecurity risk in offshore wind farms
Improved targeting for Coast Guard HAZMAT container inspections
Advancing the autonomy and capabilities of a Blue ROV
Geographic Information Systems and Coast Guard data visualization.
Outcomes from the summer research program will include research reports, posters, and a final presentation for MSC and DHS stakeholders. More than 220 students have participated in the program since its inception in 2010. The program has served as a catalyst for students to pursue field-based internships and careers within the
homeland security enterprise and has resulted in the development of new technologies and knowledge products.
Call for Maritime and Homeland Security Guest Speakers
The MSC is seeking guest speakers who would be interested in engaging with our Summer Research Institute students and faculty in conversations on subjects related to maritime and homeland security concerns, field operations and end-user technology needs, risk management, and DHS employment and career opportunities, among other topic areas.
MSC stakeholders play a key role in the education and experiential learning of our summer research students. Conversations with real-world homeland security professionals provide context for our students to better understand their research projects and allows them to connect the research they are conducting in the program to end-users in the field. If you are interested in participating as a webinar speaker or have a recommendation for a guest speaker, please contact us at [email protected].
Faculty and Student Research Teams from NSU and NCCU to Conduct Research with the MSC
MSC will host faculty and student research teams from Norfolk State University (NSU) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as part of the DHS Minority Serving Institution Summer Research Team (MSI SRT) Program. Dr. Mary Ann Hoppa, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NSU, and her student team will collaborate with Dr. Barry Bunin, Stevens Institute of Technology, on a project focused on understanding cybersecurity risks in offshore wind farms. Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, Associate Professor, Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences and his student team will collaborate with Dr. Hugh Roarty, Rutgers University, to utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to expand upon research conducted in the MSC's Vessel Traffic Radar for Small Vessel Detection project. The MSI SRT program is sponsored by the DHS Office of
MSC Research Update - January/February 2021
MSC Director to Discuss the Center's Sensor Technologies at the Port of the Future Conference
Dr. Hady Salloum has been invited to present at the Port of the Future Virtual Conference being held March 15th - 18th, 2021. His talk titled Sensing Technologies for Maritime Security will provide an overview of the Center's state-of-the-art projects for detecting and monitoring illegal vessel traffic.
VTS Radar Project Identifies Key Requirements for Next Generation USCG VTS
MSC research partners from Rutgers University completed a one-year study of the USCG’s use of radar within their Vessel Traffic Services (VTS). The USCG operates twelve VTS Centers utilizing a shore-based surveillance and communication system with the authority to ensure safe and efficient movement of vessels at select ports around the U.S. The USCG is currently challenged with the legacy sustainment of the radar component of the VTS.
The MSC team conducted interviews with Coast Guard Headquarters and the VTS centers to develop a picture of existing and future radar and other sensing needs within the VTS. Based upon input from the interviews, the team drafted a request for information (RFI) that was distributed to radar and sensor vendors. The Rutgers team also analyzed previous studies by Lockheed Martin of VTS areas as well as current studies by the Canadian Coast Guard for their VTS. The team received responses from 8 radar vendors. The responses were tabulated and analyzed to determine which radar features would provide the greatest benefit for the VTS mission.
In addition to the RFI work, the Rutgers team analyzed AIS and VTS transit data to develop a picture of the traffic within each VTS and performed a geographic analysis of existing radar and camera coverage to determine sensing resiliency and identify any potential gaps in the sensor network. It was determined from the existing radars installed across the VTS system that many of of radars are oversized for their geographic coverage. The findings from this research project will help the Coast Guard develop the operational requirements for their next generation VTS.
MSC Undergraduate Research Assistant co-authors SAVER TechNotes for Emergency
During his summer internship with the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL), MSC undergraduate research assistant, Domenico "Dom" Albarella, contributed to research focused on the performance of Portable Radio Repeaters and Ruggedized Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Devices.
Repeaters are used by emergency responders to extend the range of radio systems where coverage gaps are present, and ruggedized LTE devices are cellular-connected mobile devices that are built to withstand harsh environmental and physical conditions. Working in conjunction with Hasan Shahid, NUSTL Test Engineer, Dom documented the system requirements as well as the performance capabilities and limitations for each of these technologies. Outcomes from his internship resulted in the development of two co-authored SAVER TechNotes that provide a high-level overview of the technology, how it works, and its operational relevance to the national first responder community.
The TechNotes on Portable Radio Repeaters and Ruggedized LTE Devices are published in the SAVER Document Library of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s public-facing website.
Fulbright Scholar Publishes Research Conducted During Internship at MSC
Fulbright Scholar and former MSC research intern Iosif Progoulakis has recently published a peer-reviewed paper titled Cyber Security for Offshore Oil and Gas Assets in the January 2021 edition of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The paper is co-authored by Drs. Barry Bunin and Paul Rohmeyer from Stevens Institute of Technology. As part of his Fulbright fellowship, Iosif interned with the MSC during the Fall 2019 academic semester, where he worked to develop a security risk assessment for offshore oil and gas assets. During his visit to the MSC, Iosif presented his research at the 2019 Maritime Risk Symposium.
Save the Date: DHS COE Summit - May 17 to 21, 2021
The DHS Centers of Excellence (COE) will be hosting a virtual Summit, on May 17 - 21, 2021. The Summit will feature panel discussions and presentations on the latest in COE research and student projects. The theme of this year's event is University Research and Workforce Development for a Safe and Secure Homeland. The Summit will provide an opportunity for COE researchers to connect with DHS components, federal, state, and local stakeholders, as well as industry partners and to discuss current and emerging solutions to threats and challenges faced by DHS. MSC stakeholders are invited to attend. Additional details are forthcoming.