Natalia Stakhanova

Canada Research Chair in Security and Privacy

Tier 2 - 2019-04-01
University of Saskatchewan
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Designing better methods of profiling cyber-adversaries and predicting their behaviours.

Research relevance

This research will support a systematic and scientific understanding of adversarial underground communities to improve our ability to predict and detect cyberattacks.

Uncovering the Digital Identities of Computer Adversaries

In recent years, cyberattacks have resulted in severe consequences for several critical sectors, including health care, finance and national defense. Cyber-terrorists can figure out how to evade firewalls and traditional defences. This can lead to millions of dollars in costs and compromise the security, privacy and the integrity of systems.

Dr. Natalia Stakhanova, Canada Research Chair in Security and Privacy, offers a creative solution that shifts the focus from the attacks themselves to the root of the problem: the adversaries. Her research is providing intelligent insights into the identities of human adversaries before, during and after cyberattacks.

Stakhanova and her research team are investigating ways to track and analyze adversaries’ digital identities. They are also studying the anti-analysis defenses that adversaries commonly use to disguise their behaviours, and designing robust techniques for identifying, understanding and neutralizing obfuscation defenses in malware and legitimate software. The goal is to provide security practitioners with the tools they need to effectively detect attacks and mitigate their effects during their initial stages.

Ultimately, this research will enhance the scientific exploration of adversarial communities. It will also change the fundamental focus of anti-cybercrime efforts from merely coping with individual instances of malware to identifying and mitigating the effects of underground “cyber-terrorist” communities.