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Student presents computer science research at conference

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UNG student Hannah McSwain presented her research on cloud-level network security at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges' Southeastern Conference.

Hannah McSwain could have settled for a strong capstone project with Dr. Ahmad Ghafarian in fall 2020. That simply is not how she works.

The senior from Ellijay, Georgia, pursuing a degree in computer science wanted to get more ideas to further her research on cloud-level network security. McSwain applied and was accepted to present her research at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges' Southeastern Conference in January.

"I was able to examine the data and more ways to test it," McSwain said. "It helped me know where to keep going with the research to best focus my efforts. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear outside perspectives."

One of McSwain's findings is many security vulnerabilities are caused by human error in setting up networks. She aims to expand the research to examine how companies can have software that continually audits systems to find these weaknesses, which can easily fly under the radar until a problem arises.

"The vulnerabilities are not necessarily going to be where you're looking for them," she said.

Ghafarian, a professor of computer science, said he usually has at least one student per semester present a paper with considerable assistance from him, but McSwain took the initiative and did the paper all on her own.

"She is a very motivated student," Ghafarian said.

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