University Hosting Irish Fulbright Scholar for Cyber Forensic Research


The University of New Haven is hosting Dr. David Lillis, an Irish Fulbright Scholar studying two different elements of cyber security and forensics.

Lillis is an assistant professor at University College in Dublin, Ireland, where he teaches software engineering. He also spends four months out of the year teaching in China for a dual program between his university and one in China.

Lillis is relatively new to the cyber forensics field, but says that it fascinates him and he believes in different ways to learn more about the field.
“I felt there was a contribution I could make,” he said about working on this research project.

Lillis has been working with U. New Haven professor Frank Breitinger, who is the co-director of the University’s cyber forensics group. The two have collaborated for approximately a year and Lillis says he expects their partnership to continue when he returns home.

“Hosting a Fulbright scholar as motivated and talented as Dr. Lillis is a great opportunity for the University, our students, and our ever-growing worldwide network of researchers,” said Breitinger.

Lillis said he enjoys being here with his team because he is able to make connections and get to know the people he works with, saying, “I think being here will help us both.”

Cyber security is one of the most prevalent issues in the United States, and Lillis says that it isn’t as high-profile in Ireland as it is here. But he sees many similarities in his research, specifically how law enforcement uses forensics and data.

One project Lillis is working on is the approximate matching of forensic evidence. This is a highly manual process, but Lillis’s project aims to advance the method of finding and sorting through evidence, which could sometimes take years to complete.

“The amount of digital evidence is only getting bigger,” he said. He added that sometimes it could take so long to develop evidence that cases are dropped due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Lillis is also looking into machine learning and artificial intelligence and how those technological advancements related to forensics.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is run by the U.S. Department of State, specifically the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. It is an international exchange program that gives research grants for scholars to complete short-term, non-commercial projects and research in the U.S.

Lillis said he wanted to visit the University of New Haven because “they’re ahead of the curve in terms of anticipating where the field needs to go. They’ve taken a leadership role in the cyber forensics community.”