Research Labs: Computer Security

Web content, written for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMC in 2019.

RMC’s Computer Security Lab is one of the foremost research groups tackling computer, network, and cyber security research in Canada.

Established as part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2000 by Dr. Scott Knight, who still serves as Primary Investigator today, the CSL is made up of nearly twenty researchers, including five additional investigators and a number of other researchers and graduate students. Their purpose is to conduct research and technical investigations into computer and network security issues in military-relevant areas.

Over the years, the CSL has conducted significant research into the function and security of traditional networks, including:

  • performing covert channel research
  • vulnerability analysis
  • intrusion detection
  • modelling and investigating mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) and wifi networks

Security on Land, Sea, and Air

Today, the CSL’s major focus is on platform and operational technology research: the design and development of non-traditional computer networks on military platforms, such as aircraft, ships, and land vehicles. Researchers investigate methods of trusted recovery, vulnerability analysis, intrusion detection, and more on these technically complex non-traditional platforms. They collaborate with all three environments on real-world, applied research that is relevant to the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence.

To that end, the CSL has access to a powerful aircraft development simulator (affectionately known as the “plane in a box”), which allows researchers to model and test the systems that make up a modern military warplane. The lab also includes a “ship in a box” for modelling Navy warships; a similar simulator for Army land vehicles is currently in development.

In addition to their research, the investigators in the CSL are also concerned with the pedagogy of computer security in Engineering. They maintain a computer network security lab with access to a large number of virtual machines—primarily used in courses which focus on educating future generations of Engineers and Engineering researchers.

Some of the graduate courses offered by the CSL include:

  • Computer Networks & System Security
  • Digital Forensics
  • Advanced Network Traffic Analysis
  • Operational Technology & Cybersecurity
  • Malware Analysis
  • Cyber Threats & Attack Vectors

They also offer undergraduate courses in computer network design, distributed systems, and cyber defence.