Transportation Cybersecurity Researcher

Virginia Tech   Blacksburg, VA   Full-time     Transportation
Posted on September 13, 2021
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Job Description

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech (Hume Center), and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Southwest Virginia (CCI SWVA) are seeking a Cybersecurity Research Engineer through a joint appointment to support the development of a Transportation Cybersecurity Research program. The position is being offered at the Senior Research Associate rank or Research Scientist depending on experience.

This position will collaborate with an integrated team of transportation safety engineers, automated vehicle experts, and infrastructure developers to establish and grow a research program focused on the safety and security of embedded and cyber-physical systems in the transportation ecosystem. This position will design, propose, and conduct research to support the secure design, development, and implementation of cyber-physical systems including advanced automotive technologies such as connected vehicles, connected infrastructure, electric, and automated vehicles. This position will develop security concepts that translate strategic objectives into effective solutions within the automotive industry by applying knowledge of monitoring, analyzing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats and interference within information systems and networks in the transportation domain.

The position will be responsible for broadening the cybersecurity research portfolio, establishing relationships with potential sponsors, supporting collaborations with Virginia Tech faculty members and faculty through CCI, and mentoring researchers at VTTI and the Hume Center. A successful candidate should have experience in the role of PI and/or Co-PI on funded research projects and an ability and willingness to work collaboratively with faculty from a variety of disciplines. This position will lead research teams that can include faculty, staff, and students.

Duties and Responsibilities:
• Develop and oversee new sponsored research and funding opportunities through collaborative proposal development and sponsor relationship development
• Collaborate with sponsors on automotive and infrastructure security during design, development, and testing
• Mentor and potentially manage junior researchers to expand cyber security capabilities
• Perform security assessments, code audits and design reviews for connected vehicles, automated vehicles, electric vehicles, and connected infrastructure systems
• Exercise, evaluate, and expand upon existing transportation security protocol systems and standards
• Translate cybersecurity best practices from other domains to automotive contexts
• Research and develop technical solutions to mitigate security risks
• Conduct research to identify and exercise new attack vectors against modern transportation systems
• Develop threat models for transportation systems using industry best practices
• Generate security requirements for sponsor engineers and product developers


About VTTI: The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducts transportation-related research to save lives, time, and money and protect the environment. As one of six premier research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has affected public policy on national and international levels. The Institute was founded in 1988 and in recent years has grown to over 500 faculty, staff, and students occupying eight buildings with more than 250,000 sq ft of research facilities, including the Virginia Smart Roads (a network of highway, surface street and rural test tracks with accelerated pavement testing capabilities), a crash sled lab, and several national research centers. The Institute also houses the largest dataset for naturalistic driving data in the world, which contains over 70,000,000 miles of continuous driving data, including thousands of crash- and near-crash events captured via multiple cameras and a variety of kinematic sensors installed on private vehicles in everyday use. VTTI ensures its national and global success by employing a select team of multidisciplinary researchers, engineers, technicians, support staff, and students. The Institute has a combined annual operating and extramural research budget of more than $50 million, and is an organizational unit of Virginia Tech.

About Hume Center:
The Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech is a university-level research center that reports to the Vice President of Research and Innovation. Its mission is to cultivate the next generation of national security leaders by developing and executing curricular, extracurricular, and research opportunities to engage students. As one of the fastest growing research centers at VT, sponsors and collaborators benefit from both highly-experienced student talent and senior technical leadership that address some of our nation’s greatest security challenges. The Hume team executes research on behalf of a range of national security research sponsors, including Government agencies and industry. Within the Hume Center, the Electronic Systems Lab has active research focusing on cyberphysical systems security (CPSS), secure wireless communications, applied cryptography, application of machine learning and other emerging techniques to cyber-resilient platforms, and applied education programs preparing students for future careers in the field. Additionally, opportunities exist to collaborate on project with the Intelligent Systems Lab and the Aerospace & Ocean Systems Lab.

About CCI: Through a multi-million-dollar investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia, CCI seeks to elevate the state-wide ecosystem of innovation and excellence in cyber-physical systems with an emphasis on trust and security and to further secure Virginia’s role as a global leader in secure cyber-physical systems. CCI SWVA is one of four regional nodes in the Virginia Tech-led CCI network. The initiative supports world-class research at the intersection of data, autonomy, and security; promotes technology commercialization and entrepreneurship; and prepares future generations of innovators and research leaders. It builds upon Virginia’s strong base of research excellence, its innovative and diverse higher education system, vibrant ecosystem of venture capital investment and high-growth firms, and unparalleled density of cybersecurity talent.

About Virginia Tech: Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. Virginia Tech's world-class reputation is a result of the dedication and loyalty of more than 13,000 employees who go above and beyond in their daily lives to make the university community and the communities in which they live top-notch in every way. Virginia Tech employees create a culture of excellence at work and at home and help make the university a rigorous academic institution and an employer of choice. Visit www.vt.edu to learn more about why Virginia Tech is a great place to learn, and work.


Required Qualifications

Sr. Research Associate rank a will require a Ph.D. in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Systems Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering or a closely related field or commensurate experience. Candidates with a lesser degree and significant experience in transportation safety in lieu of Ph. D. will also be considered.

Research Scientist rank will require a Ph.D. in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Systems Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering or a closely related field and significant commensurate experience.

- Demonstrated experience and knowledge of automotive- and transportation-related security standards, protocols, and issues
- Demonstrated ability to conduct high quality research
- Prior experience in the role of PI or Co-PI on sponsored research projects (for Research Scientist)
- Ability to develop and articulate a coherent agenda of research, scholarship, and generation of potential funding sources to support such research activities
- Ability to develop long term strategic research plans
- Demonstrated interest or experience in mentoring students in cybersecurity research
- Demonstrated interest or experience working effectively with diverse stakeholder populations
- Strong communication skills

Preferred Qualifications

- Knowledge and practical experience with common cybersecurity controls in automotive ECUs
- Knowledge of secure embedded software development life cycle and techniques
- Experience with embedded software development
- Experience in red teaming and/or pen-testing, experience with reverse engineering and/or exploitation techniques, understanding of network OSI model and common protocols
- Programming experience in C/C++
- Experience in working with students including overseeing student internships or service-learning activities
- Experience directing large scale projects/programs

Appointment Type

Restricted

Salary Information

Commensurate with Experience

Review Date

9/27/2021

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check as well as documentation of COVID-19 vaccination.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Lisa Eichelberger at lisae@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.