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Stony Brook Professor Receives Cyber Research Institute Grant to Tackle Tech Support Scams
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 Nick Nikiforakis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, NY, July 31, 2015 –  Tech Support Scams appeared first in 2008 and since then, despite various crackdowns by the Federal Trade Commission, there have been thousands of individuals who have fallen victim and lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Nick Nikiforakis, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University and member of the National Security Institute, has been awarded a $67K grant from the Cyber Research Institute (CRI) to continue his research and work in technical support scams to help this ongoing issue. The grant will fund his research project, Tools and Techniques for Understanding and Detecting Technical Support Scams, which investigates the techniques used by scammers and designs effective defense systems against those scams.

“I am excited about this project because we have the chance to make a lasting difference,” said Nikiforakis. “People that fall victims to these scams lose not only money and time, but also confidence on the Internet and its great advantages. I’m thankful to the Cyber Research Institute and Stony Brook for providing support to be able to spend the time and resources necessary to protect innocent users from technical support scams.”
 
Technical support scams trick users into thinking that they are interacting with a technician of a large software company, when, in reality, they are interacting with a scammer posing as a technician. Scammers then use a wide range of social engineering techniques to get access to the computers of their victims, convince them that they are infected with malware, and then charge them a fee for removing the purported infection.

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About Stony Brook University
​Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 24,600 students, 2,500 faculty and 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation and Kiplinger named it the 33rd best value in public colleges for in-state students and 26th for out-of-state students. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounting for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.