The Mobile Technologies Centre is established as a research centre within the Faculty of Engineering, with full access to the laboratory equipments and infrastructure support.
Prof. Wing C. Lau is the Director of MobiTeC. The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, chairs the Operations/ Advisory Committee, which oversees the strategic direction and review the progress of the Centre. Professors in the Engineering School invited to join the Centre include Prof. Jack Lee, Prof. Soung Liew, Prof. Michael Lyu and Prof. Kehuan Zhang.
University and Industry Collaborations
The Centre welcomes sponsors from system vendors, network operators, equipment suppliers, application developers, and service providers relating to the mobile information and communications industry. Companies can also provide research (MPhil or PhD) fellowships for students to conduct research in mobile technologies. Industrial participation will help shape the research direction of the Centre to better contribute to a more prosperous mobile industry in Hong Kong. In addition, the staff at the Centre will undertake contract research or cooperate with industrial partners to apply for Government funding support to conduct specific R&D projects that will benefit the local industry.
Previously, the research focus of the Centre has been on:
- Data QoS (Quality of Service) - While for voice communication, the performance indices and measurement methods are well understood, wireless data QoS is a much needed area of research. Methodology for characterizing the end-to-end QoS will be developed. Then measurement techniques applicable to Hong Kong have been designed and empirically deployed. Innovative methods for improving wireless data QoS have also been studied.
- Service Creation - Next Generation wireless networking technologies (Cellular Networks and Wireless LANs) provide the mobile users with a rich selection of bandwidths and connectivity choices. The Centre has designed new mobile multimedia applications, using the enabling technologies to meet the needs of both consumer and business users in Hong Kong. These new applications have provided additional revenue generating opportunities for the mobile industry.
- Content Delivery - Right after 3G technologies was standardized, few operators had experience in deploying and optimizing 3G network infrastructures yet. We have designed innovative algorithms to maximize the network performance, especially for the applications of interest to Hong Kong operators such as media streaming. Research outputs will also be useful for contributions to future wireless standards.
In recent years, the research directions of MobiTeC have extended beyond conventional telecommunications and networking to cover new application and service aspects of mobile technologies including mobile security, pervasive computing, Internet of Things, Cloud-based computing services, mobile/ online social networks and big data systems. Recent projects include:
- Vulnerability Analysis and Security Testing for Single-Sign-On Services in Mobile Applications. In particular, MobiTeC has designed and implemented a set of automated security testing tool/ services (MoSSOT and S3KVetter) for real-world Single-Sign-On (SSO) protocols such as OAuth2.0 and OpenID-Connect. Using these tools, we managed to conduct a large-scale investigation to analyze the security of the implementations of close to 1000 third-party websites/ mobile applications which used the SSO service provided by major Online Service Providers including Facebook, Google, Sina, Tencent, and Renren. Our investigation has discovered various new classes of critical SSO-related vulnerabilities which affected hundreds of millions of end-users world-wide. We have reported our findings and proposed fixes to all the affected identity providers/ developers and received their acknowledgements. Based on our suggestions, providers have also updated their SSO programming guide for third-party developers to explicitly explicate possible future misuses. Our technical findings were not only published as academic papers but also, presented in major industrial forums such as BlackHat and received extensive coverage by local, mainland and international media. Our work on the development of security vetting tools for Single-Sign-On Software Development Kits (SDKs) received the 2018 Internet Defense Prize from USENIX and Facebook.
- We have developed and continued to enhance the awarding-winning AuthPaper technology to meet the increasingly demanding and diverse requirements of supporting high-density, authenticated QR-codes for new secure, mobile/ pervasive computing applications. While the use of color in QR codes brings extra data capacity, it also inflicts new challenges on the decoding process due to chromatic distortion, cross-channel color interference and illumination variation. By introducing a new framework of High-capacity Color QR codes (HiQ) and novel algorithms to enable their robust and fast decoding, MobiTeC has developed and released an >open-source software platform to support HiQ codes generation as well as their fast and robust decoding. To further facilitate the benchmarking of color QR code decoding algorithms by researchers and practitioners world-wide, we have also created a large-scale color QR code dataset, CUHK-CQRC, and made it publicly available at http://www.authpaper.net/colorDatabase/index.html
- Due to the complex, multi-party trust relationship required by Mobile Payment Services, there is a high potential for massive cyber-security threats caused by improper implementation or lack of understanding/technical know-how amongst resource-constrained third party website or mobile application developers. By leveraging MobiTeC's world-class expertise in the security of Mobile Single-Sign-On (SSO) services, we have launched a new project to investigate the security of mobile payment protocols and systems in practice. We are also developing automated security testing tools for real-world mobile payment protocols, systems and applications.
- Another recent research direction of MobiTeC is on the empirical measurement, modeling and analysis of payment activities/ transactions among users of mobile social networking services. Topics under study include: community detection for mobile payment users, mobile-OSN-assisted credit/ trust evaluation and anomaly detection, the cultural and social aspects of online mobile payment activities etc.
Members of the Faculty of Engineering at CUHK have carried out many research projects relating to mobile technologies. Sample cases of successful technology transfer or industrial collaboration include:
- Undertook a preliminary study to compare the QoS of different networks and made recommendation for improvements.
- Licensed the Video2MMSTM technologies to enable the services of delivering short video clips of news and weather information to mobile phone subscribers.
- Developed mobile games, which have been launched and well received in the market.
- Created Cantonese text-to-speech Web Services solution for telephone applications.
- Led researchers to develop new protocols for 3G standards, especially High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA).