Interview with Neetesh Saxena

Earlier this year, at ICC 2017 in Paris, we have given the IEEE ComSoc YPs and WICE Best Paper Award to Dr. Neetesh Saxena, who is currently Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Bournemouth University. We were inspired by his work, so we asked him a few questions about his research and also asked for some directions for young researchers. We hope you will enjoy reading his answers.

Dr Neetesh Saxena taking his award

ComSoc YP: Hello Neetesh, could you please tell us about your education background and professional working experience. 

I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Cyber Security with the Department of Computing and Informatics at Bournemouth University, UK. Before joining BU, I was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. Prior to this, I was with the Department of Computer Science, The State University of New York (SUNY) Korea, South Korea as a Postdoctoral Researcher as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, USA. I earned my PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, India. In 2013-14, I was a Visiting Research Student and a DAAD Scholar at Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (B-IT), Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität, Bonn, Germany. I was also a TCS Research Scholar during Jan. 2012 – Apr. 2014.

ComSoc YP: Could you describe your paper in max. 150 words?

The industry has recognized the risk of cyber-attacks targeting the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). A potential adversary can modify or inject malicious data, and can perform security attacks over an insecure network, even the network operators at intermediate devices can reveal private information, such as the identity of the individual home and metering data units to the third-party. In this paper, we proposed a secure and privacy-preserving data aggregation scheme based on additive homomorphic encryption and proxy re-encryption operations on the Paillier cryptosystem. The scheme can aggregate metering data without revealing the actual individual information (identity and energy usage) to intermediate entities or to any third-party, hence, it resolves identity and related data theft attacks. The scheme protects the system against security attacks, and also maintains message integrity and undeniability. The performance analysis ensures that the scheme generates manageable computation, communication and storage overheads, and has efficient execution time.

ComSoc YP: What was the hardest part in your research? What would you recommend future researchers to focus on in this area?

Challenges:

  • Involvement of a large number of smart meters (scalability).
  • Maintain privacy-protection of the data and the identity of the house owner (privacy-preservation).
  • Make sure no one including the network operator could access or alter the information being sent over the network.
  • Distribute individual and aggregated metering data to the control center and billing center, respectively, in a secure manner.

Future recommendation:

  • Verify the performance of additive homomorphic encryption in a real environment with a large number of smart meters.

ComSoc YP: Could you identify the impact of your proposed work on the communications fields or humanity at large?

Due to recent attacks over the communication network of the power grid, it is extremely important to secure the communicated information over the network. This work designs and develops a scheme for securing AMI communication between all its entities over the network. This will ensure a reliable electricity delivery with legitimate billings for each consumer.

ComSoc YP: Your paper has three authors from three different countries around the globe – how did hard was it collaborate on this work? What would you suggest for other young professionals with regards of international collaboration?

It’s always good working as a team so that at the end you get a quality paper. International collaboration is encouraged and you get to learn many new skills including technical, writing, and presenting, by different people working in the same area. I have already worked with my co-authors, so it was not difficult for me to pursue this work. At the end, you get a constructive feedback and valuable comments by your co-authors to improve the quality of your work.

ComSoc YP: Can you tell us more about your plans for future research?

My future research will involve cyber security involving the development of novel authentication and access control techniques for secure system, secure communicated information over the insecure network, and cyber-physical system security, such as smart grid and smart transportation, involving understanding the impact of cyber-attacks on physical systems.

ComSoc YP: Thank you for the answers! Best of luck for your future research!

Published on 25 September 2017.