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FST’s Software Security Expert consulted for Secure Data Exchange Solution for Major US Telecommunication Company

When Mr. Gebre Wallace, an alumnus of the Department of Computing, needed guidance on a software solution, he knew he could turn to his former FST lecturer. Mr. Wallace was commissioned by a major US telecommunication company as a Solutions Architect. He currently leads the implementation of software that will be used by millions of its consumer devices across the US. A particular application to be used as part of the customer device configuration process to be made available via the 'cloud', had an important requirement for the application to enable secure data exchange between the device and the application itself, with no intermediate systems or applications permitted. Mr. Wallace consulted his former lecturer Dr. Curtis Busby-Earle (Senior Lecturer, Department of Computing), whose areas of interest are software security and software engineering, to provide some guidance on how this could be accomplished. Over the course of a few discussions that explained core concepts and with Dr. Busby-Earle providing sample code, Mr. Wallace wrote a solution based on the Diffie-Hellman algorithm. Mr. Wallace's comments included, "Commendations to Sir Busby for making himself available to assist with sifting through the ramblings of past students. The good thing is that his initial teaching stuck as I have never implemented Diffie-Hellman or RSA encryption since my Network and Security course in 2009. I really needed to understand how to choose values for P and g and how these values affect the strength of the secret generated. I also needed to confirm my base understanding of RSA encryption... Curtis has been invaluable in these respects." He further stated that, "The suggestion I put forward—I think with the guidance of Curtis—was to use Diffie-Hellman to exchange a stable device key that would then be used with RSA."

The solution reduced the application's complexity, minimized the volume of messages exchanged, and provided the required level of security by preventing any intermediate systems from accessing secure data, as prior authentication mechanisms exist for devices and mobile apps. Mr. Wallace's solution is currently being extensively tested and is scheduled to be rolled out nationwide in the US during the third/fourth quarter 2023.

Photo caption: Dr. Curtis-Busby-Earle, Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona.

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Published on 26 May, 2023

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