Announcement / June 2024

Caseysimone Ballestas Awarded Cal Cybersecurity Research Fellowship

Caseysimone Ballestas
Caseysimone Ballestas

The Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity is pleased to announce that Caseysimone Ballestas, a PhD Student in the UC Berkeley Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2024 Cal Cybersecurity Research Fellowship.

Awarded annually since 2019, the Fellowship was launched through the generous support of a Cal alumnus. The award provides funding to UC Berkeley students or postdoctoral scholars to pursue research in security-related fields. Ballestas is the 11th graduate student to receive the award. (For a list of past recipients, visit this page.)

Ballestas’ research focuses on improving the digital security of “dynamic manufacturing environments,” including factories designed with cyber-physical and “internet of things” (IoT) technologies. “This research addresses a significant gap in cybersecurity knowledge among manufacturing design engineering professionals tasked with designing Industry 4.0’s manufacturing environments,” Ballestas wrote in a proposal. “It aims to understand how design decisions in the early design phases can minimize the attack surface area of dynamic manufacturing environments (DMEs) — factories with cyber-physical and IoT technologies.”

Ballestas will conduct research in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a federally funded research and development center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. “With the support of this funding, we aim to provide insights critical for enhancing cybersecurity in Industry 4.0,” Ballestas wrote. “Our central research question guiding this work is: How do early-stage design decisions influence the emergence of vulnerabilities and expansion of attack surfaces within the context of remote monitoring and control of subtractive machining at ORNL?”

CLTC invites our supporters to contribute to the Cal Cybersecurity Research Fellows fund, which directly fuels UC Berkeley scholars whose research at the intersection of humans and technology helps expand public understanding of cybersecurity, broadly defined. Consistent with CLTC’s mission, these projects help decision-makers act with foresight and expand who participates and benefits from cybersecurity.