PDRF Uses Cloud Computing Research to Protect Against Hackers

Boyang Wang Utah State University

It would be unfair to say Boyang Wang, one of Utah State University’s Presidential Doctoral Research Fellows, has his head in the clouds; rather, he has his head in the cloud.

Wang, a computer science student who is researching the encryption and outsourcing of data and computations on the cloud—services and software that run on the Internet instead of a computer—said that security and privacy is a bigger need and concern now than ever.

“The cloud contains a lot of vulnerabilities, and it’s so hard to contain against all of them,” Wang said. “Unfortunately, there will always be hackers trying to hack into the cloud, looking for sensitive information to sell or disseminate into society to cause a negative impact.”

Wang is particularly focusing on what we are working on now is called searchable encryption. The idea is that someone could encrypt their data them self, then outsource our data for storage on public service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud.

“We allow the cloud providers to run computations on our data and still return the correct results to us without revealing our private data information or query information,” Wang said.

Wang said this research is relevant because with the development of cloud computing and big data, we need to be able to outsource our data to public services with confidence that are data will be secure and protected from being leaked.

“Because of the limitation of storage space we have on our phones and computers, we are going to have increasing need to outsource our data,” Wang said.

Wang, a native Xian, China and a holder of multiple Ph.Ds., said he has enjoyed his time in Logan and hopes to continue to build on his experience as a PDRF.

“My primary goal is to eventually be a faculty in the future, to continue my research in this area and other areas like mobile computing,” Wang said. “I would like to work with students in the future and teach them how they can do research in this area.”