Highlights of some of my research projects are presented on this page.
Network Design for Critical Information Dissemination in Adversarial Environments
The Internet of things (IoT) is revolutionizing the management and control of automated systems leading to a paradigm shift in areas such as smart homes, smart cities, health care, transportation, etc. The IoT technology is also envisioned to play an important role in improving the effectiveness of military operations in battlefields. The interconnection of combat equipment and other battlefield resources for coordinated automated decisions is referred to as the Internet of battlefield things (IoBT). IoBT networks are significantly different from traditional IoT networks due to battlefield specific challenges such as the absence of communication infrastructure, heterogeneity of devices, and susceptibility to cyber-physical attacks. The combat efficiency and coordinated decision-making in war scenarios depends highly on real-time data collection, which in turn relies on the connectivity of the network and information dissemination in the presence of adversaries. This work aims to build the theoretical foundations of designing secure and reconfigurable IoBT networks. Leveraging the theories of stochastic geometry and mathematical epidemiology, we develop an integrated framework to quantify the information dissemination among heterogeneous network devices. Consequently, a tractable optimization problem is formulated that can assist commanders in cost effectively planning the network and reconfiguring it according to the changing mission requirements.
-  M. J. Farooq and Q. Zhu, "On the Secure and Reconfigurable Multi-Layer Network Design for Critical Information Dissemination in the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT)", in IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 2618-2632, April 2018.
-  M. J. Farooq and Q. Zhu, "Secure and reconfigurable network design for critical information dissemination in the internet of battlefield things (IoBT)", in 15th International Symposium on Modeling and Optimization in Mobile, Ad Hoc, and Wireless Networks (WiOpt 2017), Paris, France, May 2017.
Network Protection Mechanism to Secure Wireless Network from Stealthy Attacks
The Internet of Things (IoT) relies heavily on wireless communication devices that are able to discover and interact with other wireless devices in their vicinity. The communication flexibility coupled with software vulnerabilities in devices, due to low cost and short time-to-market, exposes them to a high risk of malware infiltration. Malware may infect a large number of network devices using device-to-device (D2D) communication resulting in the formation of a botnet, i.e., a network of infected devices controlled by a common malware. A botmaster may exploit it to launch a network-wide attack sabotaging infrastructure and facilities, or for malicious purposes such as collecting ransom. In this work, an analytical model is proposed to study the D2D propagation of malware in wireless IoT networks. Leveraging tools from dynamic population processes and point process theory, malware infiltration and coordination process over a network topology is captured. The analysis of mean-field equilibrium in the population is used to construct and solve an optimization problem for the network defender to prevent botnet formation by patching devices while causing minimum overhead to network operation. The developed analytical model serves as a basis for assisting the planning, design, and defense of such networks from a defender’s standpoint.
Target bot free population: 70%
Target bot free population: 80%
Target bot free population: 90%
LinkNYC Target bot free population: 70%
LinkNYC Target bot free population: 80%
LinkNYC Target bot free population: 90%
-  M. J. Farooq and Q. Zhu, "Modeling, Analysis, and Mitigation of Dynamic Botnet Formation in Wireless IoT Networks", in IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 14, no. 9, pp. 2412-2426, Sept. 2019.
Multi-layer Resilient Connectivity for Internet of Things in Infrastructure Challenged Environments
Enabling the Internet of Things in remote environments without traditional communication infrastructure requires a multi-layer network architecture. Devices in the overlay network such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are required to provide coverage to underlay devices as well as remain connected to other overlay devices to exploit device-to-device (D2D) communication. The coordination, planning, and design of such overlay networks constrained by the underlay devices is a challenging problem. Existing frameworks for placement of UAVs do not consider the lack of backhaul connectivity and the need for D2D communication. Furthermore, they ignore the dynamical aspects of connectivity in such networks which presents additional challenges. For instance, the connectivity of devices can be affected by changes in the network, e.g., the mobility of underlay devices or unavailability of overlay devices due to failure or adversarial attacks. To this end, this work proposes a feedback based adaptive, self-configurable, and resilient framework for the overlay network that cognitively adapts to the changes in the network to provide reliable connectivity between spatially dispersed smart devices. Results show that the proposed framework requires significantly lower number of aerial base stations to provide higher coverage and connectivity to remotely deployed mobile devices as compared to existing approaches.
Fig. An example of two connected MAPs serving the underlying MSDs. The communication range of each MAP is depicted by the dotted lines while the area of influence is represented by the shaded circles.
Example run of the cognitive algorithm showing MAP configuration over time.
A random MAP failure event is induced making 20% of the MAPs unavailable. The cognitive framework adaptively re-configures itself to improve network connectivity.
A random MAP failure event is induced making 40% of the MAPs unavailable. The cognitive framework adaptively re-configures itself to improve network connectivity.
Top View of MAP configuration over time
Adaptation of overlay network with coordinated motion of underlay devices
-  M. J. Farooq and Q. Zhu, "A Multi-Layer Feedback System Approach to Resilient Connectivity of Remotely Deployed Mobile Internet of Things", in IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 422-432, June 2018.
-  M. J. Farooq and Q. Zhu, "Cognitive Connectivity Resilience in Multi-Layer Remotely Deployed Mobile Internet of Things", in Proc. IEEE Global Communications Conference (Gobecom 2017), Singapore, Dec. 2017.