Our graduate Daniel Vournazos is a Software Engineer for the Android platform at Google

Daniel Vournazos is a Software Engineer for the Android platform at Google; he graduated from CI with a bachelors in CS and Mathematics.  He originally got started with Android development through a directed study and capstone under CI Computer Science professor AJ Bieszczad.  From there he worked at a local company doing some light Android work until he got a job in Glendale at Mobileforming.  There he worked with amazing peers that created an environment for substantial growth, on a variety of Android apps, which helped him with getting hired at Google.

Using AWS on a project in collaboration with SoCal HTTF to decrypt a password

Anyone working in the field of Digital Forensics is aware that a substantial portion of time is dedicated to reverse engineering passwords. That is, in most cases a digital forensics investigator receives a password-protected handheld device, or a laptop with an encrypted hard disk, or a Microsoft Word document which has been password protected.

It is then the task of the investigator to try to retrieve the evidence, and that in turns requires reverse engineering the password; in some cases this can be achieved by recovering the hash of the password, which is stored somewhere (the locations are often known) on the device’s memory.

In order to obtain the password from the hash, we have to run a brute-force search algorithm that guesses passwords (the guesses can be more or less educated, depending on what is known about the case). Sometimes we get lucky. There are two programs that are used extensively for this purpose: John the Ripper and hashcat.

As we have been studying methods for recovering passwords from hashes, we have been using AWS EC2 instances in order to run experiments and help HTTF with their efforts. Together with senior capstone students as well as graduate students in Cybersecurity, we have been creating a set of guidelines and best practices to help in the recovery of passwords from hashes. AWS EC2 instances are ideal as they can be crafted to the needs and resources of a particular case. For example we are currently running a t2.2xlarge instance on a case where we have to recover the password of a Microsoft Word document; we have also used a p2.16xlarge with GPU-based parallel compute capabilities, but it costs $14/hour of usage, and so we deploy it in a very surgical manner.

Our graduate Zane Gittins working at HAAS as Systems Security Engineer

Zane Gittins is a Systems Security Engineer at Haas Automation and recently graduated from CSUCI with a bachelors in Computer Science. Zane started his journey at Haas as an intern through CSUCI partnerships with local business and was recently hired full time. During his undergraduate career he worked under Dr. Pilarcyzk as an assistant in research focused on Persistent Homology. During his capstone project he worked closely with Dr. Soltys to provide a security best practices document to Haas. He continues to expand his education in the CI masters of Computer Science program (MSCS).

Luis Torres Martinez CSUCI graduate now DBA at Yardi

Luis Torres Martinez is a Database Administrator at Yardi Systems in Oxnard and a 2018 Computer Science (CS) graduate from CSUCI. During his time at CSUCI he was a member of the Competitive Programming Club and SACNAS – CSUCI Chapter. He also participated in competitions such as the 2018 CS Programming GURU Contest, 2017 ICPC – ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Southern California Section, and 2017 NASA Swarmathon Contest where his team earned third place. Additionally, during his time at CSUCI he was a Web Developer Intern for Aumnia Inc. and afterwards a Data Capture Fulfillment Analyst Intern at The Trade Desk prior to his employment at Yardi.

Eric Valenzuela, a CSUCI Computer Science graduate, working at Yardi

Eric Valenzuela graduated with a degree in Computer Science in 2016. He is now a web developer at Yardi. During his years at CI, Eric was a Software Engineering interns at Sandia National Laboratories. Before his current position at Yardi, he was a Software Engineer at CTL SystemWare.

One of our masters students now working at GBL as a Software Engineer

Eric Gentry recently joined GBL Systems, a government contract company working with the Navy at Point Mugu Naval Base. GBL Systems (https://www.gblsys.com) is based in Camarillo and works with CSUCI to hire top performing Computer Science graduates. Eric leads a team of software developers in creating military grade RADAR system tools as the Senior Software Architect and Team Lead.

You can see more about Eric Gentry in this post.

Our graduates getting great jobs!

Computer Science 2nd Advisory Board Meeting

On May 10, 2018, the department of Computer Science, which is composed of four programs: Computer Science (CS), IT, Mechatronics and the masters program in CS (MSCS), held its second Advisory Board meeting. The first meeting took place on November 3, 2017.

The Advisory Board consists of leaders in the industry and public service in Ventura County, and its mission is to:

  • Champion the department in the community.
  • Help with placement of our students in internships and full time positions.
  • Support the curriculum.
  • Provide access to real world problems which can than be given to our students for senior capstones, projects and masters theses.
  • Form the constituents of the department, as for example required by ABET accreditation.

The meeting started with lunch at 12:30 (Handel Evans Conference Room, Broome Library Room 2533), and welcome words from Chris Meissner (Meissner filtration, and also a member of the CI Foundation Board), who outlined a vision for the board, and has kindly agreed to take the lead of a planning committee that will develop bylaws and membership. Dennis Gaiseer has also agreed to help in this effort. Chris’ remarks were followed by two faculty presentations, Profs. Brian Thoms and Houman Dallali, who briefly showcased their various research projects and how they involve CI students.

Lunch was followed by a tour of the new labs in Sierra Hall, with detailed visits in the Robotics, Embedded Systems and Networks & Security labs. At 3pm, in Sierra 1422, we held a planning meeting that started with a presentation by Michael Soltys; here are the slides:



The talk outlined the recent successes and accomplishments, e.g., starting of Mechatronics program in the fall 2018, student programming competitions, scholarly achievements (over a dozen publications arising from research in the department), as well as the rapid growth of the students majoring in Computer Science (at 400 currently, doubled in the last 3 years). We also mentioned some of the challenges, such as the leaving of several key tenure-track faculty (moving to other universities and retiring).

We also spoke about the push toward ABET accreditation, and that the Advisory Board will be key in that enterprise, as we are required to have one in order to maintain a discussion about the Program Educational Outcomes, which comprise a vision for our graduates, and which has to be examined by the constituents (i.e., Advisory Board) of the department. The department has a working document for its implementation of an ABET assessment program: https://goo.gl/jrvHft

Following that, Ritchie LeRoy from Advancement led a discussion about the following items:

  • Membership of the board
  • By-Laws
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Leadership
  • Expectations

The day ended with the Capstone Showcase presentation 4-6pm in the Sierra Hall Lobby, held at the end of each term, presenting the magnificent senior projects of our students. The students were excited about the possibility of presenting their work to industry leaders.

Some shots from the Capstone Showcase: