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KU Team Takes First Place in International Smart Security and Privacy Contest

KU Team Takes First Place in International Smart Security and Privacy Contest

Published: 3rd of February, 2015

Inaugural contest sought participation on issues facing the use of smart devices.

The winners of the Khalifa University and Abu Dhabi Polytechnic Smart Security and Privacy Contest (SmartSec) were announced yesterday.  Khalifa University’s team, “Security ACT,” which consisted of Dr. Hamad Al Marzouqi (coach), Khalfan Almarashda and Mohammed Al Zaabi, was awarded first place in the Professional/University student category for their project (The Anti-Camera Tag). The EBTIC Innovation Center Team, which included Dr. Dymitr Ruta, Dr. Rom Lee and Dr. Kin Poon, came in second place; while PI-Geon Team from Petroleum Institute, which included Dr. Mahmoud Meribout, Andri Haryono, Susaf Noor Azhar and Jing Shi, came in third.

Attended by H.E. Eng. Hussain I. Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and member of Khalifa University’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Tod Laursen, President of Khalifa University, Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University, and, Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Khalifa University, the event received a total of 35 unique submissions – the work of 79 teammates – with proposals from 25 distinct UAE-based teams, in addition to 10 submissions from Canada, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar and the United Kingdom. Contestants consisted of teams from companies, secondary schools and universities.

In the school category, Al Ittihad Tech’s team of Lubna Rashed, Mohammed Al Khateeb and Khalid Al Qubaisi, ATHS-Dubai’s team of Ahmed Haj Ali, Abdulrahman Ahmed Khamis Almeasam and Abdulla Bader Sharif and ATHS Al-Ain of Khalid AlZoubi, Yousef Alhashmi, Abdulaziz Aldhaheri, Salem Almansoori and Khalid Alkaabi came first, second and third respectively.

The inaugural contest sought participation on important issues facing the use of smart devices, particularly those that are part of the smart government initiative. It also aimed at identifying bright minds that would excel in information and cyber security.

Contestants were asked to develop an innovative hardware/software solution to prevent the use of smart device cameras during certain sensitive events and/or in sensitive areas. Participants had to show ways of controlling smart devices’ cameras independent from their platform (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows). These solutions needed to secure such areas/events without requiring managers to physically take attendees’ smart devices. Moreover, wireless jamming was not allowed. The main target was to control only the camera without disabling other services such as phone calls and SMS.

“This competition serves as a promotion and awareness vehicle for smart device security and information security in general,” said Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Khalifa University.  “This was a great opportunity for professionals and students working or majoring in the domain of information security and related subjects to measure their skills in smart device security, and to acquire valuable experience. This competition also comes in line with the government's strategy to support innovation. The competition supports this trend and stimulates innovation in one of the key areas to the present and the future of the UAE”

He also said: “Khalifa University is proud to be part of an endeavor like this, and we are especially pleased with the interest and participation from organizations and educational institutes from around the world.  It is important to provide our best and brightest minds with competitions like this one, which tests their knowledge and skills, and truly allows them to shine. Creating this kind of environment is key to developing a knowledge economy that continuously strives for bigger and better, which has been envisioned in the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan.”

The competition was held under the sponsorship of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), National Electronic Security Authority (NESA) and IEEE, UAE Section.