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.

Monochromatic painting of Mahatma Gandhi won hearts and the first prize at the inter-department competition.

Painting of GandhiThe Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering is very proud of its student Ms Vyshnavi Tanikonda for securing the first prize in the Independence Day Painting Competition. Ms Vyshnavi painted a beautiful monochromatic painting of Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘Father of the Nation’ who fought for the independence and sovereignty of the country till his last breath. Ms Vyshnavi, a 2nd-year student, successfully captured the true essence of the great patriot in her painting which brought her the top prize in the inter-departmental competition. The Department of ECE heartily congratulates its daughter for bringing this honour to the department.

During the unprecedented crisis, when the world is slowly falling into despair, the talented students of SRM University- AP are using the time for brainstorming and innovation. Attesting the signs of a true researcher, P. Mohan Aditya, a 2nd – year Mechanical Engineering student, represents the future generation well by developing a highly useful face shield that costs less than a plate of snacks.

Aditya with his ‘Face Shield 2.0’Mr Aditya has named it “Face Shield 2.0”. The face shield is very lightweight, easy to wear, comfortable yet durable. It protects a person’s entire face from hazards with a thin layer of transparent plastic film that serves as an outer defence. It is a protective equipment to guard the face against exposure to the potentially infectious materials. This face shield is biodegradable as the headband is made of cardboard(paper) which is 100% degradable material and the plastic can be reused. The Face Shield comes only at a price of INR 15.

The Face Shield 2.0 was manufactured using the CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machine through which Aditya designed a headband, and the shape of the transparent plastic film was created using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software. “I gave this CAD model as an input to the CNC machine. Now the CNC machine software analysed the CAD model and started to cut the cardboard and transparent sheet according to the drawing provided as an input. Thus, I managed to bring down the production time for manufacturing and assembling the Face shield in less than 2minutes,” explained Aditya. A 3 Ply Corrugated Cardboard Sheet had been used in making the headband so that the headband becomes durable, comfortable and lightweight. The Bursting Strength of the Cardboard sheet is 16kg/sq.cm. A thick 175-micron transparent plastic sheet has been placed over the headband to protect the person against the virus. This also forms a barrier that keeps people from easily touching their faces. The transparent film also helps in allowing the visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception.

CNC Machine

The other innovative features of the face shield are – a cushioning type of structure has been attached to the headband so that the person wearing it for a long time does not get strained. This structure helps the person to wear the face shield comfortably. By providing the elastic band to this face shield, any person with different head circumferences can wear it easily.

Wearing this ‘Face Shield 2.0’ will help the police, medical personnel, municipal workers, people working in sanitizing department, people working in the essential goods sector by not getting infected by the virus. It can also be used by virus-infected patients so that the chance of spreading the virus to a healthy person can be decreased. Moreover, several lakhs of students of schools, colleges and universities could use the Face Shield 2.0 when they come back to the educational institutions after the lockdown is lifted.

Machine processing a cardboard Mohan Aditya always wanted to make a difference. So, when he read in many articles and newspapers that there is a huge shortage of the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in the world, the idea of making a face shield crossed his mind. “I thought to make a face shield which is 100% biodegradable, low in cost and also gives protection to the facial area and associated mucous membranes (Eyes, Nose, Mouth) which are the possible entries for a virus to infect people,” said Aditya.

Mohan Aditya wants to be a successful engineer in life. He is very passionate about making useful gadgets. His previous endeavour with his team successfully ended up in making an Electric bicycle by using a 24V 250Watt DC motor powered a 12V and 12Ah battery. At present, they are working on the retrofit of an old IC Bike into brand new Electric Bike. Our young engineer P. Mohan Aditya truly one of those people whom the future world can rely upon.

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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