Lalchandra Rampersaud

Ph.D. Candidate


Lecture Information:
  • October 25, 2023
  • 1:00 PM
  • CASE 349 & Zoom

Speaker Bio

Lalchandra Rampersaud is a Ph.D. candidate at the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University. He is a member of the Systems Security Lab (Seclab) at FIU, supervised by Dr. Amin Kharraz. Lalchandra joined the group in 2021, focusing on data-driven approaches for systems security and malicious program analysis. He is conducting research on approaches aimed at protecting mission critical infrastructure and services from contemporary malware threats. Before joining FIU, he was a software engineer for ten years, working on commercial products in the taxation industry both in the US and Australia. Lalchandra completed his B.Sc. at the Technological University of Havana “José Antonio Echeverría” in computer engineering in 2009. He holds two masters from the Technological University of Havana “José Antonio Echeverría” in applied informatics, and the City College of New York in computer science. Lalchandra likes to scuba dive for fun, and he is the vice president of the FIU scuba and freediving club.

Abstract

As cyber threats continue to evolve, adversaries employ more sophisticated methods to evade detection and analysis techniques. This makes it significantly more difficult for defenders to detect attacks, understand the tactics, and respond properly. As a consequence, it is critical that effective tools and techniques are developed to rapidly detect and contextualize malicious activity for accurate comprehension in a scalable manner. An important aspect of understanding modern malicious behavior is to increase the visibility over the landscape of malware activity to increase awareness, identify new trends, and evaluate the effectiveness of current solutions. With this in mind, it is essential to have systems that offer fine-grained artifacts to achieve transparency over the computer system. The absence of a centralized, cost-effective solution hinders the ability to investigate and counter the rapidly evolving landscape of malware. Moreover, access to crucial artifacts generated by malware executions is often limited or non-existent, further magnifying the challenges in developing effective defense mechanisms.

The central theme of Lalchandra’s research focuses on safeguarding mission-critical systems, services, and their users from modern malware attacks. His research aims to identify gaps in security posture and improve threat identification, analysis, and mitigation in software systems using a data-driven approach.

The first part of this talk focuses on a user study addressing the need to educate users about data protection, regardless of their technical background. It calls for new tools and techniques to democratize data protection using a data-first approach. The second part of the talk focuses on the analysis of environmentally sensitive attacks through data-driven security systems. We visualize such attacks by providing insights and contextual analysis of fine-grained, forensically relevant data gathered from malware executions in varying environments. We investigate techniques for identifying patterns in system behavior as well as anomalies by transforming non-labeled data into clearly labeled information to be digested. Lastly, the talk focuses on technology abuses in the current attack landscape. Specifically, we examine the utilization of the certificate infrastructure as a means to distribute harmful programs and circumvent defensive measures.