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The M.S. Cyber and Information Security Research Seminar 2021-2022 presents
Dr. Dane Brown 

Who Tracks the Trackers?
Monday, April 11th, 2022
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM 

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This event will be held via Zoom. Please register below and
a Zoom link will be sent to your email the day of the event!

Apple’s "Find My" protocol allows lost devices, such as Airtags, to relay their location to their owners via a network of over a billion active Apple devices. This presents a powerful capability for owners of these devices, but may also be a tool for malicious actors to cheaply and effectively track unknowing targets. Apple has introduced a feature known as “item safety alerts” to prevent Airtags from being used this way. We demonstrate that it is possible to create a custom device, with similar features to an Airtag in terms of cost, size and battery life, which can participate in Apple’s "Find My" network and be tracked via it, while not triggering any item safety alerts. This implies that Apple’s protection mechanism is insufficient. We suggest natural mitigations for two of our malicious tracker techniques but note that the third would require substantially altering the "Find My" protocol to defend against.

Dane Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Cyber Science Department at the United States Naval Academy. He holds a B.S in Electrical Engineering (USNA '05) and an M.S. in Computer Engineering (NPS '06). He completed a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering (Virginia Tech '19) with a focus on analyzing the security of firmware in ARM environments.
Dane Brown was recently selected to be the Coach of the Red vs. Blue team for the 2022 US Cyber Games, an elite international competition showcasing technical prowess in Cyber Security.

Dane has worked at the Naval Academy since 2010. Originally an instructor in the Electrical Engineering department, he quickly got involved in teaching and developing courses for the new Cyber additions to the Naval Academy core curriculum. In 2014, he was hired into the new Cyber Science department and charged with helping to create the curriculum and course sequence for the emergent Cyber Operations major. To this end, he has adapted and delivered a course which introduces students to computer architecture and design principles in a hands-on format.

Prior to joining the Naval Academy faculty, Dane Brown served as a Submarine Officer in the U.S. Navy responsible for maintenance, personnel, and operations. He still serves as a Naval Reservist to this day and has deployed to U.S. Central Command to work in the Joint Cyber Center in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Dane's expertise lies in problem solving at the lowest levels of computer software, hardware, and networks.
He has a passion for information system security to include:
  • Binary Analysis
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Cryptography
  • Privacy and TrustMicroprocessors
  • Communications Protocols
  • Signal Processing
  • Biometrics
  • Cyber and STEM Education
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Dane A. Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Chair, Curriculum Committee
Cyber Science Department
Faculty Representative,
Cyber Security Team
United States Naval Academy

Event Starts: 
Monday, April 11th, 2022
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Event will be held via Zoom.
Register here and a Zoom link will be sent to your email the day of the event!
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