Who could have thought of implementing Blockchain in order to enhance cybersecurity before Ms Vyshnavi Garipelly? The answer is simple- No one. That is why Ms Vyshnavi has been able to secure a Guinness Record with her pioneering research “Using blockchain technologies implemented on cybersecurity”, which was published on International Conference on Research Challenges in Engineering and Technology (ICRCET) on 30 October 2020. Ms Vyshnavi is currently in the final year of her Computer Science and Engineering undergraduate degree.

Blockchain enables security systems, deployed in organizations, to use distributed key public infrastructure to authenticate devices and users. Blockchain’s robust DNS entry approach can improve security by removing a single target that can be compromised. At the same time, it provides the ability to resolve single attack points and multiple targets, such as a database, network, or data centre, at a single access point, and provides the ability to resolve a single point of attacks while simultaneously resolving multiple target attacks, such as a server-sided attack. She has explored the possibility of Blockchain Technology into two significant areas of Cyber Security¬

1. Implementing Security in Private message
As conversational commerce becomes more popular, a lot of metadata is collected from customers during these exchanges on social media. While many messaging systems use end-to-end encryption, others are beginning to use Blockchain to keep that information secure. At the moment, most messaging apps lack a standard set of security protocols and a unified API framework for enabling “cross-messenger” communications. The emerging secure blockchain communication ecosystems tackle this issue and work towards creating a new system of unified communication. Blockchain is an excellent solution for that as it secures all data exchanges and enables connectivity between different messaging platforms. Many companies are looking at Blockchain to secure their personal and private information exchanged over chats, messaging apps and social media. They hope to make it into a secure platform with the help of Blockchain and impenetrable to foreign attacks. Ms Vyshnavi has improved the security through these three methods-

A. Improved PKI
PKI or Public Key Infrastructure keeps messaging applications, emails, websites and other forms of communication secure. But they all rely on third-party certification authorities to issue, revoke or store key pairs. These certification authorities can become an easy target for hackers with spoof identities, trying to penetrate encrypted communications. On the other hand, when keys are published on a blockchain, it leaves no scope for a false key generation or identity theft as the applications verify the identity of the person one is communicating with.

B. Intact Domain Name System (DNS)
The DNS is an easy target for malicious activities as hackers can bring down the DNS service providers for major websites like Twitter, Paypal and others. A Blockchain approach to storing these DNS entries can improve the security extensively because it removes that one single target which can be compromised.

C. Diminished DDoS attacks
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attack in which multiple compromised
computer systems attack a target, such as a server, website or another network resource, and cause a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. This forces the system to slow down or even crash and shut down, thereby denying service to legitimate users or systems. This problem can be solved by integrating Blockchain into decentralized solutions which can protect against such attacks. “Nowadays, multiple measures for security are being developed and adopted, and yet threats develop and adapt itself accordingly. However, with Blockchain, we now have a vast scope of ensuring that the data is safe,” says Vyshnavi.

2. Transaction security developed by COIN APP.
COINAPP is an easy-to-use cryptocurrency application for resource-constrained businesses, that are not currently equipped to handle the ledger information securely. COINAPP replaces third-party transaction vendors, and it keeps all transactional data between two peers encrypted. The boosted level of security helps companies to keep transparent records in a public sphere.

With the internet shrinking the world into a global village, more and more people are joining social media. The number of social media platforms is also on the rise. More social apps are being launched with each dawn as conversational commerce gains popularity. Vyshnavi’s research has a massive impact on society, as in the recent past, numerous attacks have been executed against social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These attacks resulted in data breaches with millions of accounts being hacked and user information landing into the wrong hands. Blockchain technologies, if well implemented in these messaging systems, may prevent such future cyberattacks. COINAPP also has huge industry impact as it can be easily integrated with platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. No matter where or how it is applied, the key factor in using Blockchain as a cybersecurity method is decentralization. When access control, network traffic, and even data itself are no longer held in a single location, it becomes much more difficult for cybercriminals to exploit. This research has the potential to strengthen security, decreasing vulnerability.

“Joining SRM University-AP was the best decision of my life. The continuous support from the faculty has completely moulded me into thinking more logically and creatively. It was wonderful to explore the possibilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the Semester Abroad Programme. I came across with success when I won some of the hackathons at Denver and California with the bounties. The opportunity to work on Blockchain and cybersecurity knocked on my door while I was staying here,” exclaimed Vyshnavi.

Ms Vyshnavi is now willing to take her research further. She always wanted to do something that can contribute to society meaningfully. Hence, she is looking for industry collaboration to implement her research in the real world to make a difference.

Smart algorithm to optimize performance of the heterogeneous multi-cloud network

Dr Sambit Kumar Mishra

As the world goes more digital in the future, the dependability on cloud computing is going to be more. The availability of high-capacity networks, low-cost computers and storage devices as well as the widespread adoption of hardware virtualization, service-oriented architecture and autonomic and utility computing has led to growth in cloud computing. But is it enough? How to improve its performance? How to make it more reliable with high-end technology and impeccable performance quality? Dr Sambit Kumar Mishra’s research has an answer to that.

System Model for Multi-cloud Networks Dr Sambit Kumar Mishra, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering has published a paper “Energy-Aware Task Allocation for Multi-Cloud Networks” in renowned journal IEEE ACCESS with an Impact Factor: 3.745. The research was done in collaboration with Dr Sonali Mishra, SOA (Deemed to be) University Bhubaneswar, India; Dr Ahmed Alsayat, College of Computer and Information Sciences Jouf University, Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia; Dr N Z Jhanjhi and Dr Mamoona Humayun, School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCE), Taylor’s University, Malaysia; Dr Ashish Kr. Luhach, The PNG University of Technology, Papua New Guinea Lae, Morobe; Dr Kshira Sagar Sahoo, VNRVJIET, Hyderabad, India.

Example of Direct Acyclic Graph (DAG)with four TasksIn recent years, the growth rate of Cloud computing technology is exponentially, mainly for its extraordinary services with expanding computation power, the possibility of massive storage and all other services with the maintained quality of services (QoS). The task allocation is one of the best solutions to improve different performance parameters in the cloud, but when multiple heterogeneous clouds come into the picture, the allocation problem becomes more challenging. This research work proposed a resource-based task allocation algorithm. The same is implemented and analysed to understand the improved performance of the heterogeneous multi-cloud network. The proposed task allocation algorithm (Energy-aware Task Allocation in Multi-Cloud Networks (ETAMCN)) minimizes the overall energy consumption and also reduces the makespan. The results show that the makespan is approximately overlapped for different tasks and does not show a significant difference. However, the average energy consumption improved through ETAMCN is approximately 14%, 6.3%, and 2.8% in opposed to the random allocation algorithm, Cloud Z-Score Normalization (CZSN) algorithm, and multi-objective scheduling algorithm with Fuzzy resource utilization (FR-MOS), respectively. An observation of the average SLA-violation of ETAMCN for different scenarios is performed.

Energy Consumption Vs SLA Violation when
the number of VMs varies and the number of Task is 100.
The multi-cloud strategy offers flexibility to service providers. It allows businesses to be productive while using the proper set of services to optimize their opportunities. Adopting a multi-cloud network enables an enterprise to implement a “best of breed” model for the services. Organizations’ ability to choose the vendor that offers the best price for their workload is added significant advantage of multi-cloud. Thus, the optimization of energy consumption in a multi-cloud environment is necessary for the current generation.

However, this proposed work has not considered any priority-oriented users, such as task execution through reserve resource in the network, which will be considered as his future work. The future work also aims to propose a task cum resource-aware scheduling approach that will exploit the nature of the presented workload and efficiently map on the available Cloud resources so that energy consumption will optimize.

Link to the research paper: Please Click Here

K. Sree Rama Murthy, Second Year B. Tech-CSE student presented a paper at a conference in IIT-Kharagpur

K. Sree Rama MurthySRM University-AP always inspires the students in their pursuits, be it a job of their choice or a career in research and higher studies. K. Sree Rama Murthy, a 2nd-year student of B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering, has recently presented a research paper on “A Block-wise Histogram Shifting based Reversible Data Hiding Scheme with Overflow Handling” in the Eleventh International Conference on Computing, Communication and Networking Technologies (11th ICCCNT), held at IIT Kharagpur, India in association with IEEE Kharagpur Section, during July 1 – 3, 2020.

Data hiding is a process of embedding a secret message into a cover medium for secure message transmission. The reversible data hiding techniques are recently explored in the domain of data hiding in which the cover image can be recovered while extracting the hidden secret message. The overview of a reversible data hiding scheme is shown in Figure. 1.

Figure 1. Overview of reversible data hiding

In this research paper, Sree Rama Murthy introduced a new reversible data hiding algorithm based on the histogram of the blocks of the cover images with an efficient overflow management technique to achieve a better embedding rate without compromising the visual quality of the stego image.

Design and development of reversible data hiding schemes are widely studied topic due to its wide scope in cloud computing and medical image transmission. This paper introduces a new reversible data hiding algorithm based on the histogram of the blocks of the cover images with an efficient overflow management technique. In the new scheme, the peak intensity value from each block is used for data hiding, and to make sure the correct recovery of the original image, the grayscale value used for data hiding from each block is embedded in the same block itself by replacing the least significant bits of eight selected pixels. The lossless recovery is ensured by embedding those least significant bits in the same block itself along with the secret message. Detailed theoretical analysis and experimental study of the scheme are carried out and discussed in this paper. The images from the standard image dataset of the University of Southern California (USC-SIPI) are used in their study.

“To be able to publish a research paper at such an early stage in a reputed conference like ICCCNT-2020 is an achievement that has acted as a cornerstone for my research aspirations. I feel highly encouraged, motivated and inspired to contribute more in the fields of research. I express my sincere gratitude to my professors, especially to Dr Manikandan V. M for providing me with the opportunity to collaborate. He put his trust on me, encouraged to do research with him and guided me with his knowledge and experience throughout the journey. I feel this is only the beginning for me, and I will try my best to accomplish more and retain more knowledge,” said Sree Rama Murthy.

Sree Rama Murthy plans to acquire a master’s degree in computer science and aspires to be a researcher who can make significant contributions in the domain of Computer Science and Engineering.

The unstoppable team of Next-Tech Lab of SRM University- AP, has again brought laurels to the University by winning three hackathons in a row. During this lockdown while some devoted their time to newfound hobbies, our young researchers successfully developed a fresh multiplayer virtual reality game – ‘Whack A Mole’ and a cloud-based multiplayer FPS in Virtual Reality- ‘Desert Shooter’. The three-member team has successfully bagged the second prize in the International / Professional Award at SKYHacks2020; Best echoAR Hack at Silicon Valley Hacks; and Best AR/VR hack at HackNow, organized by Cal Hacks, a non-profit organization at the University of Berkeley, California.

Karthik, Koushik & Khushboo (Clockwise)

When asked how the idea of making such a game crossed their minds, Epperla Karthik, a 2nd Year student of Computer science and Engineering and a member of the team, said, “My family loves attending Tradeshows, every time we attend one my dad and I challenge each other to win a game of Whack A Mole. But, due to strict quarantine that my family is following, it’s been a while now for such challenges. My teammates and I, being gaming and virtual reality enthusiasts, decided to develop a VR version of ‘Whack A Mole.’”

‘Whack A Mole’ is a multiplayer virtual reality game that allows users to play against the computer or their families or both! One can use it on iOS or Android. It is built on Unity3D, on top of Photon PUN and GoogleVR SDK. It is also integrated with Google Firebase. “This was the very first time we were working on the development of virtual reality games and networking. As we had to run the game on our phone to record the gameplay, the output video on YouTube is a bit blurry,” explained Khushboo Sharma, another member of the team and a 2nd-year student of Computer Science and Engineering. “We completed the development of the game in only 20hrs, starting from scratch. We developed a few of our own UI elements and game assets. I feel the User-Interface of the app and the effects are pretty cool. VR development is real FUN! Moreover, there are a lot of API and SDK that unity supports,” exclaimed Koushik Bhargav, a 3rd-Year student of Computer Science and Engineering and the third member of the team.

‘Desert Shooter’ is another multiplayer virtual reality game developed by the team that allows users to play against the computer or their families or both. You can connect with your friends and play together. The game consists of a swarm of robot ships moving towards you and you have to protect yourself from them. “The interesting part is that all of this happens in Mixed Reality which makes the game immersive. We built it on Unity3D, on top of Photon PUN and GoogleVR SDK, Echoar. It is also integrated with Google Firebase and the assets are stored in echoar cloud. This project won the best AR/VR hack at “Hack: Now” which is organized by the University of California Berkeley,” said Epperla Karthik.

The team has plans to make this game to be a cross-platform game. Therefore, their next plan of action is to make the web version of it. The team is also planning to release it to production so that users can have an immersive experience of modern gaming techniques.

It is again proved that pure talent can never be put in quarantine. It will always find a way to express itself to the world. Our young developers have brilliantly used the ample time and opportunity to put their brains in best use and to bring recognitions from nationally and globally acclaimed competitions.

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Amidst the quarantine, students of SRM AP and members of NEXT TECH LAB, have exhibited their expertise in HACKNITR, a national level hackathon organized by NIT Rourkela on 21-22 March 2020. The outstanding merit of their project has enabled them to bag the Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up position at the hackathon.

Team ASTUTE BOTS consulting

Team ASTUTE BOTS, comprising of 1st-year students, Tankala Yuvaraj, Karthikay Gundepudi and Joseph K. Paul, was recognized as the Runner-Up. They used the AI-IoT platform to develop DRONEYES; a prototyped solution that can be used to reduce poaching. It is an aerial reconnoiter which flies in stealth mode and takes the video or photo of a suspected poacher. This is done by the highly trained object detection model called YOLOv3. These eyes not only detect objects on the terra firma but also sends the exact location via GPS. “With the help of cloud technology, we can share the data in real-time so that the user/organization can take the required initiative by locating the exact place of poaching”, explains Karthikay. We were inspired to attend hackathons by Anshuman Pandey, and Next Tech Lab supported this achievement.

Another team PUSH, where Karthik Epperla, 2nd year, and Ishita Agarwal, 1st year, participated, has received the 2nd Runner’s up award. The students worked on an AI-VR-Blockchain based application to help people with autism improve communication, social and other basic abilities required to live in a society. It gives a set of YES/NO questions that are to be answered by either the parent of the child or the adult suffering from Autism and then it matches those answers with the dataset which then returns the level of autism that the child/adult is suffering from. Depending on the level, the user can choose the extremity of VR therapy. When the child goes through the VR session, the parent can view what their child/ adult is doing in the virtual environment using the parent app from anywhere and advise their ward offering extra support to the patient. ” Our application has 3D simulations of real-life situations wherein autistic children/ adults (mostly children) can practice and understand how to behave/react in those situations and overcome their fear while facing a similar situation in real life. “, adds Karthik.

Karthik acknowledges Adithya Ramakrishnan the founder of Next Tech Lab and his lab mate, Lakshmi Vallala for implanting the noble idea that AI can help in the rare medical condition, Autism. They have constantly been in touch with a few special schools and treatment centers to know about the behaviour and nature of autistic people so that they can keep on building different versions of applications.

In the natal stage of their academic career, the students are guided and nurtured in an environment by the Next Tech Lab and the faculty members which inspires them to positively impact the society. The ample exposure offered to the students will not merely encourage them, but also enable them to improve their concepts.