William & Mary

Alumnus Receives an NSF CAREER Award

Heng YinHeng Yin (Ph.D., 2009) has been awarded a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation for his proposal "Binary and Virtualization Centric Malware Defense."

Malicious software (malware) has become a major threat to computer security for decades and will continue to be a central theme for computer security research. Professor Yin's project takes a binary and virtualization centric approach to effectively and efficiently defeat malware using both online and offline analysis. Offline malware analysis aims to extract knowledge about the inner-workings for a newly discovered malware instance or software exploit, for the purpose of building up proper defense against similar attacks. Online malware defense aims to build efficient security mechanisms to effectively confine malicious behavior and collect enough evidence for subsequent security investigation.

For offline malware analysis, a novel virtualization-based malware analysis platform is used, on top of which new type inference techniques are applied to malware decomposition and vulnerability diagnosis. For online malware defense, new techniques for module-level sandbox and execution replay using virtualization are cooperatively used to defeat malware.

Heng Yin is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. In winning this award, Heng becomes the department's eighth doctoral student to receive an NSF CAREER award; the others are Tracy Camp (Ph.D., 1993), Subhendu (Raja) Das (Ph.D., 1993), Jean Mayo (Ph.D., 1997), Andy Miner (Ph.D., 2000), Zhichun Zhu (Ph.D., 2003), Songqing Chen (Ph.D., 2004), and Song Jiang (Ph.D., 2004).